The toxic smoke was blowing right in my face as I quickly hooked up the hose.
Then I lifted the still warm handle on the water pump and .... nothing happened.
Hose was frozen. Did you hear me swearing all the way to Topeka ?
I drained the heavy 70 foot hose in the morning as usual, but it was outside in the elements--no barn to put it in and now it was frozen. I went back into the toxic smoke, unhooked the hose and dragged it to my truck and brought it home to defrost.
As I drove down the dark road I looked up at the barn and saw how the small fires still burning in the barn resembled the eternal candles that flicker for a beloved family member in the nearby cemetery.
When I woke up this morning my throat was raw and I have that familiar dripping going on in my head somewhere. I think I am getting sick. I am coughing now as well. This can not happen.
I made sure the hose was defrosted before I dragged it out of the house, down the stairs and back to my truck. I was already fatigued by the time my truck was loaded with everything I needed for my day.
As I drove up the road to the farm I noticed some activity inside the dead barn.
The farmer and his son were separating the metals and tin from the fire. They were trying to straighten out the metal roofing so they could stack it. Smoke still rising from the thick beams as they worked together as a familiar team, carrying, dragging, talking and stacking tons of burnt, sharp and heavy remains from the fire.
The tractor that has been so faithful to me is under the most debris. It is slowly getting uncovered. And my sadness increases as each piece of roofing material that is removed reveals the ugly metal hulk that use to be my strong, trusted farm companion.
It snowed early this morning, covering up some of the visual ugliness of what has happened here.
Now the work begins. Piece by piece, by hand, all the debris must be carried out of the burnt shell of the barn, sorted, stacked and eventually removed from the property. The landscape of the fire has gone from burnt black to gray and white from the snow and tin.
Gray landscapes make red cows look good. They make my heart happy to see them. Safe. Healthy.
I have learned a lot.