In about 1991 I stumbled on David Kline’s book Great Possessions in a bookstore in Berlin, Ohio. Kline is an Amish farmer and a skilled writer. Great Possessions is a simple collection of essays about things he observed on his farm in Holmes County, Ohio. At the time we were blessed to have a five-year lease on a farmhouse in central Ohio in Knox County Homes County’s neighbor to the southwest. The house was an old farmhouse at the end of a dead-end road. There was a gas well on the property, so we had free heat. Our well-water was sweet and it was free. We paid no taxes. Our lease was lacked at 400.00 a month for five years. Looking back I’m more aware now than I was even then that our lease was a kind provision of God for us. It was the desire of our hearts to live in the country. My study was in a garret room facing west out over the valley, not a house or building in site. I took my prayer walks up over the steep hill to the north to along the abandoned road bed back to the place where a great flood had washed away the bridge over the Kokosing River seventy years earlier.
Before the days of iPhones and electronic readers I had Kline’s little book on a table beside my bed. I read a chapter a night before I would reach over and turn out the light. It stirred up in me a great longing, or perhaps it awakened in me a great longing for a life in the country. I was reminded of that tonight. It was very hot today and I spent most of the day indoors in air-conditioned comfort. This evening I wanted to step out in the golden hour so I would not have spent the whole day inside in June, which would seem criminal.
I made an excuse to walk around the place a bit and then drove to the store. The first fireflies of the season showed up last night. We live on as beautiful a country road as those that are embedding in my soul from childhood among the hills and glens of Ohio and my heart is grateful. There were yearlings everywhere and a little fawn drank from a pool by the side of the road.
Below is a picture of the house taken in the fall of the year. A few months later in early November the tree bare of leaves our son Daniel would be born there in the front bedroom of the house. That winter I walked out into the snowy night and seeing the warm light from within asked the Lord for my own home in the country on a quiet back road. He has given us the desire of our heart.
When I reach over and turn out the light I will thank Him again for the life we have and Bittersweet Farm.
(Our home on Rutledge Road in the early ’90’s)