The Sweet Scent of New-Mown Hay

By Marcy Barthelette

I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (CEB)

It’s finally hay baling time and I’m obsessed with grassy hilltops and rolling meadows covered in fat round bales. I love the sweet scent of freshly mown hay and I love seeing the sunlight reflecting off them.

I’m sure the local farmers wondered if they’d ever get into their fields this season. We had so much rain in late spring that fields were a muddy mess, miring tractor wheels in their sticky goo, not to mention that the grass was much too wet to cut. But the heat arrived and God turned off the faucet from heaven and the work began. Now, everywhere we go, I get to enjoy the beauty of newly created hay bales. I’ve taken lots of photos, especially near our home. This year I found my favorites to be those taken just about a half-hour before sunset when the sky is filled with pinks and oranges against a lovely blue backdrop.

We are separated from a good-sized hayfield by a row of houses and a highway so we always have a view that makes us feel as if we live in the country, at least somewhat so. But it may be our final year to enjoy that hayfield. This year’s photos may become historic ones. Because, you see, our city, in all its wisdom, has approved the building of nearly three hundred homes on that tract of land. Instead of waking to the sound of tractors and balers and smelling the sweet scent of hay, we’ll spend the next few years listening to earth-moving equipment, cement trucks, and nail guns. And when undisturbed soil in this area is turned over, it has a horrible smell, resembling a hog pen.

I must learn to find a way to deal with these changes being wrought in the name of progress. It seemed wonderful to have a number of huge companies moving into the Republic area but with those new jobs come lots of new people hoping to find financial security and they all need a place to call home. That means that construction is booming in Republic and Clever. The tapestry of our countryside is rapidly changing.

And therein lies my conundrum. It’s easy to be kind to everyone and keep a smile on our faces when all is, according to our personal view of the world, going well. In fact, sometimes we can even get a little full of ourselves. But when the tide turns and it seems very little is going our way, it’s also easy to become irritable and out of sorts with those around us.

Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way…..Psalm 37:7 HCSB

I can only hope we get a short reprieve from the noise and dirt of construction. This housing project has been coming down the pipe for several years and, according to city officials, it is ready to go. But maybe, just maybe, the developer might find some reason to delay through another haying season and I might get to enjoy that sweet scent, the sounds of country life, and the beauty of fresh bales in the field on a hot summer day again next summer. If so, I will be a grateful and humble child of God. If not, I hope I can be thankful for the years that I’ve been able to enjoy them.  And when those new houses are filled with families, I’ll welcome new neighbors with a smile.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28    

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