I need to confess something. It's possible I may have embraced the hay.
Maybe, just maybe, I have since surpassed what I perceived to be my own physical limitations and have been able to come away feeling a true sense of accomplishment and achievement now that it's done. Maybe I could even confess that after three days of hard labor that humbled even the strongest among us, some small, sore, part of me was almost a little sad to realize that all the hay is dealt with and that these days are done.
We all sweat together and smelled terrible together under the hot sun, all had bits of hay in our hair and stuck to our bodies. We all shared in admiration of our own strength and celebrated every single heaping wagon of hay that came in because we knew the toil it took (and also knew that the unloading still awaited). It was a team effort in a way that really meant something. My particular comrades in collecting could not have been more amazing; not only for their manly muscles and supportive spirits, but also because it solidified some friendships and memories that I will keep for a long, long time. Tobias protecting me from hay overloads and protecting himself from pitchfork eye gauging such that my distribution style could be as erratic as necessary in the heat of the moment. Svente always the cool, collected man amongst men who instilled confidence and made my job easy a few times by switching spots and doing most of the work... but all the while still insisting I was helping a lot. Sarah for making the most delicious afternoon cakes (and lunches, and dinners, and coffees), but more importantly making the trifecta of hay unloading superiority when their little daughter would either play or distract herself with baby chicken watching...
Nearing the end of day two, I felt a high comparable to that moment you finally embrace a running routine and actually feel excited to go another mile even if your body isn't ready for it.
And now this morning, on day three, I felt battered and poked; my back hurt, raising my arms hurt, opening and closing my blistered hands hurt, and everything everywhere hurt.... but there was also a confident resolve in obtaining those final rows, and I did it (mostly) with a sense of pride and pleasure.
I may still be slightly delirious from all the sun and hay dust inhalation, but I want to share that I think if I have gained anything from this experience, not only in hay hell but at this farm in general, it's a realization that I can probably do quite a bit more than I think I can. Believe me when I tell you I am currently feeing convinced that anything is possible.
And on that note, I am nearing my finals days once more. Saturday morning, if all goes according to plan, I will leave this farm for a tiny taste of city life in Stockholm. From there, nearly a week's break to travel in Norway before making my way to the next farm. I am keeping my schedule loose and am open to suggestion.