I grew up with a great – grandmother who avidly would ‘under her breath’ whisper things, that I still remember to this day. She lived on her husband’s farm, who once belonged to my great grandfather, and that had owned it for many years.
I spent a lot of time with them when I was young, as I was really close to my great grandfather before he passed away, as such I spent a lot of time on the farm, helping with chores, and exploring the land he owned as a result.
He always had a dog of some sort on the farm, to guard the livestock and chase away coyotes. He also had one little mini collie for grandma that lived in the house and walked with her while she worked the crops. They had cows and chickens, and sometimes other animals, and the men of our family would go around hunting animals during the right seasons for animals like deer, rabbits, and squirrels. He also rented out space to neighbors for their horses sometimes. They grew crops during the year to store in a cellar or in mason jars to feed us. And he grew his own hay, which the whole family helped bale when it was ready. He was usually best seen on the old tractor and grandma was usually busy with her garden or canning and cooking. Just to give you some idea.
I vividly remember my favorite spot, however, was underneath this grand old willow tree close by the farmhouse. It was massive and I would go under it when I needed a rest or to think. It was so serene and I always had a sense of protected calm beneath it. Other members of the family would call it weird, or me strange for how often i’d sit staring at it, but grandpa would wave it off and just say I felt the connection to the spirit of it. I remember talking to that tree in whispers for hours at times when I was little, and called the spirit of it , “Auni.”
There was also the ‘old man of the woods’, for when you went into the forest, you were expected to be yourself but respectful of the trees and everything else that lived there. Laugh freely, but never at them, and help when you saw trouble. Those were the rules and I never broke them in the forest around the farm.
You had to be careful of the endless fields of corn, for things lurk there – especially at night. Never lose track of where you’re at or go in the darkness without some light, or you can be lost forever, or lured into hurting yourself by mistake. And if you hear the whispers, back away slowly, but don’t turn your back to them until you reach the house.
- There are always noises and voices at night.
- You will see lights among the crops and fields at times, after midnight and just before dawn.
- Listen to the songs in the winds. Sometimes they are warning you. They will not repeat if you ignore them.
- Pay attention to the birds, especially crows. They know things before you do.
I haven’t been to that old farm in years, but I will never forget the lessons I learned there.