The morning of January 22, 2013 started as an ordinary day. I woke up, washed my face, ate my oatmeal and headed to class.
After Sociology 219, I noticed I had missed a call from my Mom. When I called her back, it turned out to be one of those phone calls that I’ve become all too familiar with over the past few months. They all start like this: “Macy, I have some really bad news.”
Instantly I stopped walking in the middle of a crowded sidewalk, my heart hammering in my chest.
The news? That our barn is burning down. Our barn. The barn I was raised in.
At that moment, I started bawling.
I was raised on the lime-covered walk of that barn. From sitting in a carseat on the walk to coming home from college to milk our cows on that walk.
Memories are filled to the brim inside those walls. Luckily, we won’t lose those memories.
From scraped up knees, to fractured wrists, to broken ribs and passing out, it all happened under that roof.
It was beside my Dad in our barn that I first learned to milk a cow. It was in the calf barn that I first learned to clip a calf. It was those 5:00 a.m. mornings before school that I learned how to manage my time. It was doing chores with my sisters that I learned how to disagree. It was in the straw wagon that I learned perseverance. It was in the milkhouse that I learned that sound carries when you belt it out. It was in the maternity pen that I learned I should never become a vet. It was in the gutters that I learned how to stand back up and do your best to shake it off when crap happens. It was in the mangers that I learned drinking cups for cows are drinking cups for humans. And it was through my Dad and my Grandpa that I learned the true meaning of life; never giving up.
Life is rough. I can certainly tell you that. Somehow, we’ll survive this hell that we’re currently in. I don’t know how, but we will.
If we were to give up, what does that leave us with?
Giving up should have been ages ago when the cows were out at 2:00 a.m. or when it’s 100 degrees and we’re unloading straw in the blazing sun or when Dad broke his ribs and I played farmer, or when the barn cleaner broke for the third time on Christmas morning in -30 degree temps.
But we didn’t give up then, and we sure as hell can’t now.
That barn taught us family, love, hard work and passion. Though just ashes remain, that passion and those memories are truly forever.
The loss of our barn was just one of many difficulties that has come our way over the course of the past couple years.
In August 2011, my Grandpa, the man who created Fischerdale Farms passed away. Immediately after that, I left for my first semester of college. I returned home this past summer to face the challenge of selling our milking herd of cows.
From that moment, we’ve faced a steady downward slope of events.
My aunt passed away unexpectedly in October. Followed by my great aunt’s passing. And then my Grandmother’s passing.
All leading us up to the burning of our farm.
Our lives are really comparable to brick walls.
It seems lately as if the brick wall of my life has been knocked down and burned to the ground. I keep trying to rebuild it, but the cement just doesn’t seem to stick through the hurricanes that have been coming this way.
But do you know what I’ve learned? I’ve learned that no matter how many hurricanes and tornadoes hit your wall, there’s always time to rebuild. Sometimes the rebuilding process takes quite awhile. Sometimes another hurricane or tornado comes along before you’ve even finished building. And sometimes you just have to take a break from building.
My brick wall is a work in progress. And it will continue to be. When my entire wall was smashed to the ground, I was obviously devastated. But in reality, there’s now nowhere but up for me to be building.
Thank you to everyone who helped us out in the frigid weather. We couldn’t have done it without you. From the ashes we will rise.