A local photographer, Trevor Johnston, visited Rock-N-Horse Farm and took several evocative photos of the animals there and chores being done.
His photo of the farmer in the barn filled me with such emotion I knew I had to paint it.
And so my head filled with thoughts of what was going on. Are the animals looking on wondering where the man is going or do they want more food? Is the farmer exhausted from what he’s accomplished since the sun came up, or is he off to fill the day with more chores to get done? The photo was taken during the dead cold of winter. Is the sunlight that highlights the hay warming his weary body as he rests on the door frame and perhaps comforting the animals inside?
He’s not alone although this image feels lonely. Our farmers have been hard at work all along, nurturing their animals and feeding their families, hoping the crop, their livelihood, will help them survive and perhaps give a modest income to continue doing what’s in their bones. Farming, for many, is a calling, one that can not be ignored, just like the daily chores that demand their every waking moment.
Arlee Sheets, of Rock-N-Horse Farm, shared his story about this image. Apparently while he was away his father and a hired man took over for three weeks. Arlee’s Dad was at the door waiting for a bale of hay to feed the animals. Arlee shared his deep respect for his father’s tenacity and stamina and his willingness to lend a hand. He said, “What grabs my heart about this image is the emotion it makes me feel about my Dad. My appreciation for his strength and love has increased as life continues to weather us both.”
I love that last part, “as life continues to weather us both”. They are definitely not alone.