A day or two ago Larry Gray, who grew up in my neck of the woods wrote something about tobacco barns and it made me think about my youth as well. Not until this evening did it settle in my heart of those days as I stood in a light drizzle. I was under the trees along the edge of my yard out of the rain as the day subsided and the dark of night came upon me. The contrasts of light and dark, the fullness of the leaves in the trees. The sound of raindrops falling through those leaves and dripping to the ground. I could see the small droplets of rain falling out in the open area of the yard. It reminded me of the times on the farm when work had ceased for the day, tobacco was curing in the barns and you could smell the aroma of the drying leaves.
Many times toward the end of summer I would go sit under the tin roofed shelter that ran between the barns where perhaps a couple of weeks before the hustle and bustle of women running on about how so and so was such a hussy or who’s husband stayed out drinking all the weekend was the talk of the day. I’m sure there was talk about missing their favorite soap opera. There were the typical horn worms and snakes, dead of course, left in the tobacco trucks by the field hands to scare these women out of their wits.
But now there was quiet. Just the sound of rain on the tin roof. My dad, would lay tobacco sticks up in the racks near the top and would put quilts on them so he could go out there and sleep at night sometimes so he could be close to the curing tobacco. I don’t know why for sure. I could see it if it were even earlier times when the curing process was done by wood. By then it was done by LP gas.
As I crawled up on dad’s homemade bed I took in all that was nature around me. The squirrels that played around in the pines next to the shelter were always amusing. I could see off in the woods not too far away our hogs foraging for something to eat. We kept them fenced in through the woods behind the house. I could hear the guineas making noise off across the big ditch down in the field. Occasionally I would see a deer wandering across the field heading for the field over on Uncle Snodie’s farm.
Quiet time under the shelter and the tobacco barns was always a place to connect with nature.