Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Memories

Monday night was the last night of my photography class.  The "final" was to bring 5 of your favorite photos and let the class critique them.  I showed up a little before 7 and the previous class was still there.  There were 5 photos up on the big screen and they spoke to my country girl heart.

I forget sometimes that I grew up a country girl.  I've been away for so long in the "big city" (yes, laugh if you will but coming from Grace, ID this is the big city) that I sometimes forget my roots.  The building blocks that are so very much a part of me.

The first picture was a close up of a white faced heifer with a snowy background.  It was cropped close so the entire face didn't show, the beautiful brown eyes made striking.  But oh the memories it brought.  The feelings.

I have a favorite Christmas tradition.  Growing up on a farm there were always chores to be done regardless of the holiday.  One was to feed the cows.  On Christmas morning we not only had to wait for the parents to get up (an eternity in and of itself) but we had to wait for Dad to get done with the chores before we could throw back the makeshift curtain that hid the living room from our view and gaze with wonder upon the gifts Santa brought. When we got a little older, it was suggested that we go along with Dad to feed the cows on the hill.  So we all bundled up in our mis-matched winter gear (did anyone ever have matching gloves?) and headed out into the cold Christmas morn. 

Depending on the amount of snow, we either rode on the back of the snowcat (ideal for deep snow) or the feed wagon behind the big green John Deere tractor.  Dad would put it in gear and we'd head up on the hill where the cows were waiting with eagerness.  First the hay went down.  As the cows munched away contentedly a bale of straw was pitched bit by bit for the cows to bed down in. 

It was magic.  I can still smell the crispness of the air, the sweetness of the hay as it was tossed down to the waiting cattle.  Sometimes we were blessed with blue skies and the warm sunshine.  Other times it was frigidly cold and grey.  Still other times were filled with snow globe weather; big fluffy flakes that floated down like magic.  Always it was filled with satisfaction.

When I was younger it was fun to ride on top of the hay bales and get in snowball fights with brothers and sisters.  Watch the dogs plow through the snow and try to do the same only to break through the hard surface and sometimes fill your boots with snow.  The older I got the more I appreciated that moment on top of the hill.  I loved to look across the valley, at our home, and be filled with gratitude for the beauty of the day.  The beauty of the season.  The gift it was to grow up in such a remote and perfect location. 

This year I will miss the sounds of children giggling ring through the air, no longer brothers and sisters but nieces and nephews, combined with the quiet munching of the cows and the sounds of my own breath as I take it all in.  That is the sound of Christmas morning for me.

I hope to be able to share one of those moments with my own children someday.  For now I will be content to remember it and to share a little bit of what Christmas means to me.


  1. Oh how that brought memories back for me too. I loved riding on the wagon and watching the cows eat the hay. Remember how we tried to catch snow flakes in our mouth on the snowy winter mornings? Oh those were the good old days.

  2. Seriously, wasn't that the best!

  3. It's funny, just the other day my sister-in-law, from Idaho Falls, was in SLC visiting and commented that she just wasn't a big city girl. I thought that was kinda funny to say about Salt Lake. I miss Logan because it's so delightfully not a big city. I hope someday we're neighbors again.

  4. this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing :)