Our heritage is composed of all the voices
that can answer our questions.
It was a beautiful holiday Monday and there was a huge crowd gathering at yet another farm auction that I attended where a close knit loving family grew up and now had to watch as things no longer needed would be going home with the highest bidder. There are always bittersweet emotions that go with these kinds of auctions.
On one hand you are happy to see the affairs getting settled and you do know it is something that has to be done and life will be easier when the stress of that day and the days leading up to it are over. Turning another page on the book of farming is a normal part of this life we choose and I am pretty sure we all know that. A good crowd hopefully means good prices and chances are things will be sold quickly, much like a band aid being ripped off that tender spot, the unknown is the thing that usually hurts the most.
On the other hand, and I do understand this one from experience about watching those little pieces of those things with all those stories and memories attached walk away in a strangers hand, it is very difficult for sure, even though you do know it has to be done. Oh yes auction emotions flip flopping back and forth before and for some after are part of life, like it or not.
This day I walked up to a lovely woman with a camera, a woman I suspected was part of the family trying to capture all those memories and stories before they left the farm, capturing them for her family so they would have something to remind them of this day, the day that had to happen. After a lovely conversation and my finding out more about the family I did get permission to take photos and write my own story. I am always grateful for the permission from the family as I do know the emotions that go with that day and I try to respect and am sensitive to what the family will be going through. I promised her she could read my story and any photos she wanted I would email them to her. I left her standing there in front of the best kept barn I have seen lately and went about capturing images with Leo the camera. I try to never show photos of the actual distinguishing elements of the farm itself at these auctions as to protect the family and their privacy. Even though they may not mind if I do, I choose not to.
I met the most interesting people at this auction and some friendly children that seemed to have a curiosity about why a black cat continued to follow me and wrap itself around my legs when I sat down with my pen and paper to write. I honestly did not understand that either but I suspect since I have been rather emotional myself lately remembering the auction of my own families things not so long ago, I suspected it knew I needed some comfort to get through my own still raw emotions, and yes it did make it easier. Animals have this keen sense of the emotional needs of the people around and they can comfort us when we need it, yes I do believe that.
The obviously well cared for and loved horses seemed to be oblivious to what was happening and frankly ignored the huge crowd of people, some of who actually had horse treats in their pockets and tried to coax them over to the fence. They would have no part of it, they grazed in a beautiful lush green field in front of a field of not yet harvested corn from last year drooping but still standing all brown and withered in the background.
I have always believed animals sense the emotions of the people around them and I could tell this family was going to be alright, life would go on knowing the farm will still be in the family, it may not be the same but they were not going anywhere and contented in knowing that. The horses and the family will continue to make new memories on this farm. The stuff that was leaving the farm in others hands is after all “Just stuff” no longer needed, and those memories and stories that were attached will remain with all of you to share and pass on to the next generation.
That next generation of children running around in that yard behind the well cared for farmhouse throwing a ball and laughing, and the next generation of children sitting high atop the crowd watching from the hay mow in the barn peering through that open door watching that “Just stuff” be sold to the highest bidder. They all, I am positive will make sure of that.