I've always been a Massey Furgeson/Farmall/International Harvester kind of girl.
This picture is of me as a child, and quite possibly could have been the start of my love for this crazy wonderful life I'm living. The kind of life that brings such exquisite joy and heartbreaking sorrow, the kind of life you cannot imagine living any other way. The kind of life that brings simple joys like watching a chick hatch in the tender, chubby hands of your child and witnessing the wonder unfold in their hands and eyes, or the thrill of picking a ripe juicy tomato from the vine you started from seed, still warm from the sun. The life that brings the heartbreak of loosing a beloved dog who's daily joy came from protecting her family, hearing of the loss of a friends barn, grieving with them the loss, or the wait; that seems like an eternity when you've got an animal down, for the vet to arrive. The serenity that comes while milking a goat or watching the sun set with colors so bold and brilliant they take your breath away. It's a life worth living and one you cannot help but enjoy.
Last week I told you that despite my best efforts to remain anonymous and take a tractor safety class I was found out so here I am spilling my guts about it in an attempt to make myself work harder than ever to pass the tests both written and driving.
Tonight was the first time I'd ever driven a tractor; I mean a real tractor, not the lawn tractor we use to mow here. My stomach was in knots and a mixture of excitement, fear, nerves and pride. Pride because I knew that I'd be able to do it, I can drive a stick (and LOVE that), so I was familiar with a clutch but still this was uncharted territory so it was nerve wracking and exciting all at the same time. Excitement because this was another step on the path I was born to be on, and fear, because of the possibility of faliure. The class was divided in two and I was to be on the Kubota tractor; not a bad tractor, though not my romantic idealistic tractor either, but I had to start somewhere, right? Our group walked over to the tractor and did a visual inspection as we've learned to do in class. Boy there are lots of things to look for before hopping on and getting to work, we were told that pilots always do a pre-flight inspection and it would really save time, hassle, and repairs in the long run if we were to get in the habit of doing this. Good to know!
We stood milling around and chatting while waiting our turns and I struck up a conversation with some siblings that both were wearing 4-H Dairy Team clothing, I was quite impressed that both of these kids were so knowledgeable about the work that goes on on their farm and and to see their enthusiasm about it. The younger of the two and the son of the dairy farmer was pretty excited that they'd just that day exceeded a new farm record, they'd shipped just under 42,000 pound of milk! Which equates to about 5250 gallons of milk! As I watched some of the other students hop on and go and I was moving closer to the front of the line the knot in my stomach tightened, I tried to will it to loosen but my attempts were futile. While I was excited to try it; which is part of the reason I took the class, I was still certain I'd be the one who hit or backed over the cones while backing it up into the imaginary garage. I'm a safe driver and pretty spatially aware, but it was the fear of failure and lack of experience that was over riding my brain.
Since it seemed that the other class was moving drivers through faster than our class so I was sent over to that tractor, a shiny new John Deere with huge knobby tires! I got in line to wait my turn on that tractor and waited and waited and waited, the class I was originally in was now finished and walking over to rejoin the rest of the class. Oh. My. God! I thought for sure that now the entire class would be there to watch my first attempt at driving a tractor and to see what I was sure would be an epic failure, mercifully one of the instructors took the rest of the class inside for a snack! Phew! Dodged a bullet there. There was just now one girl in line ahead of me and when she stepped off I suddenly felt the knot loosen and a wave of excitement washed over me. I climbed up using the proper three three point contact they'd told us to use and plunked myself in the seat. I let out a very girly squeal when the seat sank down very unexpectedly and reached for the steering wheel, took a deep breath, fastened the seat belt as the instructor stepped up beside the tractor and showed me what I'd need to do. Listening intently I did what I was instructed and once I had the tractor on and in gear, I released the clutch and took off. Talk about a powerful feeling! more powerful than any drug! I was successfully driving a tractor, albeit slowly and in a parking lot, but I'd conquered my fear and was having the time of my life! Oh my word was that fun! I know why little boys who played with tractors grow up to be men who drive tractors, because it's fun! It was at that moment as I was making the turn to prepare to back up that I knew that this was the life I was meant to live.