On What I Miss About Childhood

At times, I miss the smell…

Of cow manure.

In my childhood years, I lived in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. My elementary school, Linville-Edom, stood on a barely paved road in the midst of the valley's rolling farm country. Across the street was a farm. To either side of the school? Farms.

And what was notable about these farms?

Grazing Highland cowsCows.

The valley was known for its dairy farms. Dairy farms have cows. Cows produce manure. Manure has a distinctive smell.

Time passes. You move on to other places. You forget the smell of manure.

Years later, after college, I lived in Pennsylvania's Amish country. My neighbors on the one side raised cattle. My Amish neighbors up the road? Cattle. I remember mornings driving to work where I had to stop and wait for the little Amish boys to finish driving the herd across the road, from one field to another.

The familiarity of the odor of cow manure came back. It was everpresent.

Last weekend, I drove up to Pennsylvania's Lancaster County, largely on a lark. It was a pretty day, too pretty to spend around the house.

I drove through farm country. I saw combines turning over the harvested cornstalks. I saw cows. I smelled the manure.


I smiled at that.

It's an awful smell, manure. But it's also a strangely comforting smell. 😉

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