If Only You Can Figure Out What It Is


Our older boy is sick, so for the past nights I took his place at the barn where our sons do chores twice weekly. There I rolled the big round bale down the aisle with my younger boy, both of us leaning into it with all we had and a little more, the cows lapping the last pellets of grain off the floor, the late afternoon sunlight slanting through the west windows, dulled by decades of dust, everything caught in the ethereal suspension of day’s transition to evening. The smell of cow shit and fermented grasses, the sound the cows shuffling and chewing, and the banter – always the banter: So-and-so did so-and-so to so-and-so, if it’d only rain the grass would green right up, the big Swiss isn’t producing like she should, and wasn’t that one hell of a sugaring season. On it goes, one tale after another, some of them tall, some of them true, and some split right down the middle. Not necessarily true, but not altogether untrue, either, and you know that even that part that’s not true speaks a certain truth. If only you can figure out what it is.

Yeah. I like those ones. I think those are my favorite.







11 thoughts on “If Only You Can Figure Out What It Is”

  1. Storytelling is a true talent, one I have always appreciated. I don’t think you ever get too old to want someone to tell you a story even though many people think of it in relation to children. I never outgrew enjoying being read to, either. Don’t think it matters what the story is (true, not or in between) just the blessing of the story itself. Thanks for all of yours!

  2. Maybe it’s because I’m from the south, but here the banter isn’t constant. There’s still true, almost true, and tall tales but there’s silence too. Just standing leaning on a tractor tire looking out at the field is restorative to me.

    1. I agree though that sometimes seems to be a difference between city folk and country folk (at least here.) The former tend to be fast talkin’ and the latter more content to just be. And, I agree leaning against a tractor is very therapeutic. 🙂

  3. I don’t ‘get’ this one Ben? Agree with above that your story telling whether true, half true, or split down the middle is a talent ….LOVE your posts:)

  4. Once upon a time, honesty was used as the measure of a man. These days, truth’s absence is deeply felt. A consequence, imho, of our culture being fatefully in love with ambiguity.

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