Inspired by “A Witness to Rain” in Braiding Sweetgrass
Written by Drew Fielder
This is a story of a farmer named Greg who has a barn with a leak in the roof. He needs to fix it to potentially save the lives of his newly born calves. A neighbor named Jake helps him patch the hole and a few weeks later Greg notices a patch of beautiful wild flowers on the outside of the fence of the pasture. He can’t help but think that during that stormy night with endless amounts of stress, brought new life to this world and he couldn’t help but not taking the little things for granted anymore.
Keywords: gifts, stressful, beautiful, living
The moon started to crest over the starry night sky. A crack of thunder was heard in the near distance.
Shortly after the roar of thunder shook the earth, a flash of lighting struck down to the muddy terrain as if a photographer was taking a photo of the dark sky. The crash of the lighting was blinding to the eyes for the innocent bystander, Greg. Greg is a farmer on the outskirts of a little town in Oregon. Shortly after that crack of lighting struck the ground, a heavy rain fall started to hit the old barn roof.
Greg ran outside to the barn covering his head with his old Carhart jacket trying not to get wet from the heavy downfall. The chores had to be done and it happened to be Greg’s favorite time of the day. A lot of people tend to hate doing chores, while Greg on the other hand loves doing them. Feeding the animals while the rain doesn’t seem to be lightening up any time soon, Greg notices a rather large hole leaking water on his roof. The sound of rain hitting an old horse trough grew louder and louder as if the hole in the roof kept growing and growing. Greg knew he couldn’t let the hole grow because he had two baby cows in the next stall that were just born earlier that morning. If Greg took a chance and let the hole get bigger, he took the chance of letting the baby calves get wet and sick and possibly die.
Greg was thinking about all the options he could do to patch the hole. Since Greg lived on his own, he knew it was not safe to go up on a wet tin roof by himself to try to patch the hole. Greg thought for a few minutes as the leak became louder.
The animals in the barn could sense the stress in Greg’s body as he was pacing back in forth. The animals became louder and louder which made Greg pace faster and faster. Finally, Greg thought of an idea. He quickly opened the barn door and shut it quickly, running to his truck covering his head in that Carhart coat again to avoid getting wet.
Greg drove down the gravel road to his neighbor’s house to see if they could help patch the hole in the barn. His neighbor, Jake, was happy to help and told Greg that he had to change into clothes and he would be right out to the truck.
On the way back to Greg’s house they talked about a plan of patching the hole to save his calves from potentially becoming sick. Greg says to Jake, “I am going to take a piece of tin up to the roof and screw it over the hole for the time being. When the rain stops, I can go up and patch it up tighter. Since the hole on the roof was near the side wall, I think if you just hold the ladder, so I don’t fall, it shouldn’t take too long.”
The rain continued to fall as they were getting the materials collected to start the fixing process. Greg and Jake opened the door of the barn and leaned the ladder up against the soaking wet wall and Greg began to climb what seemed like Mount Everest in this weather. It seemed as if the rain fell heavier the higher Greg climbed. Jake yelled from the bottom of the ladder,
“Did you find the leak?”
Greg wiping water droplets from his eyelids, so he could see,
“Yeah, I found it. Thank goodness I did, because this hole would be grown larger in the next couple hours and probably would have killed my calves.”
Greg took Jake home and they continued to help each other whenever they needed. A few weeks after that rainy night, Greg was walking outside to check on his calves in the pasture, and he noticed that off in the distance, wild flowers were in thick patches that you could see from a mile away. Greg walked over to see the flowers that were at the end of his pasture fence and as he approached them his mind began to wander. He thought back to that stormy night and all of the bad thoughts that were going through his head.
Those bad thoughts started to fade as he thought of the good that came from that rain. He thought to himself, “If it wasn’t for that rain, these beautiful flowers would not have come to life.”
Looking down at the colorful flowers, he heard something rattle the fence in front of him. It was one of the calves sticking his head through the fence with its tongue out trying to eat the flowers that Greg was holding.
Greg could not do anything but smile at that moment. He kept thinking back to that rainy night with Jake up on a slippery roof trying to patch the hole and smiled again.
He thought to himself, “It was the gift of rain that led me to this beautiful day. None of this would have happened without that stressful night but the good that came from it is all worth it.”
Greg smiled to himself again as he stood up and looked at his healthy calf and rubbed its head and said, “I’ll see you tonight for chore time, little one, this time we won’t have to worry about the sound of PIT-PIT-PIT from above.”