A beautiful essay by Ben’s sister, Allyson Jacobs currently residing in Providence, RI with her husband, Matt and her two children. Thank you Allyson.
This summer while visiting the farm, I headed up the long field road to my brother’s house. It is pretty hard going uphill and I found myself concentrating on my feet and the baby on my back. When I got to the top I turned around. The view of the fields, some fallow and some freshly harvested, slopping down, trees on all sides and mountains rolling away into the distant horizon is awe-inspiring.
I recall that this part of Pennsylvania is a gentle section of the strong Appalachia. What I see before me is childhood, promise and wonder for me. It holds memories from most of my lifetime. Down to the left and up a tree is where I sat in a stand reading Hemingway my first deer season. I remember driving the tractor when the kicker broke on the bailer and a storm was coming, Ben and my dad picking up bales and throwing them into the wagon behind me. Right in the center was where Matt and I dreamed of being married with an aisle and room mowed into the tall grass, before deciding instead to go to a JP.
And I recollect that delicious smell of birch bark scrapped from a tree by my father’s pocket knife at the fields’ edge. And even though I am this family’s keeper of good memories, I can also remember some predator-feeding chicken raising and bumps with the farm-truck.
Now my brother owns the top of this hill, the forest behind me. He has expanded the family farm, something my father loves since he believes in Land. All the kids picked berries along the rich divide between field and forest, got some poison-ivy and I got to remember. And my brother has made this view his kitchen window, seeing it each morning as he rounds up the cows and again as he steps out of the shop at the end of the day.
This view has become Kate’s now for almost 10 years. I think I will call a family meeting to order. I wonder what each member will recall of this sight, this place so different in each season. This earth, sloping away from me now binds us together.
So lovely! Now I know more about what it’s like on your farm!
Oh Allyson how lovely. It’s good to know the Gatski’s have a “rememberer” But before the remembering there is the “seeing” which is your gift.
what a lovely read!!! amazing how we often see at one point in our life and more deeply appreciate the sight at another time.
Allyson, thank you for sending me this link. I really enjoyed reading it! I have vivid memories of being on Black Run Rd, picking berries behind your house and testing the electric fense with long blades of grass & hiding in the hayloft. It’s good to remember where you came from!