On Neff Road: Down a dusty lane


Like Pig Pen in Charlie Brown’s world, dust followed me as I walked down the back lane. An old lane that was dusty and dotted with hazards as the cows used the lane to go to the creek bottom.

Dung beetles worked feverishly. Most would have seen nothing but crops and dirt. I saw a world of possibilities.

My early education from my father about the nature that we so richly possessed never left me wanting for entertainment. Learning seemed to be an everyday activity. I loved that old back lane. The walk to the creek was often the best part of the trek. Crops surrounded me. When the corn was high, the lane was toasty hot. Creeping from the field to the lane took me on a perilous journey beneath the electric fence. Lacking a bit of coordination, I often found the experience shocking. Yet I belly crawled beneath that fence time and time again.

That old lane saw my father’s Belgian horses pull lumber cut and planed in the creek bottom to the site of the new barn. We trekked down the lane with fishing poles, and ran down to watch baby lambs romp and play. June and our neighbor Donna would camp in the creek bottom, dragging their gear down that lane. My horse took me on many a fast journey when heading to the barn. For a mare that had plodded down the lane, she seemed to find extra energy on the return.

The fences came down when I was older. There was more land to till. And no fences to separate neighbors. My nemesis, the electric fence, disappeared as did my days of adventuring. The fields were lovely no longer separated by wire and post. Another lesson. Lessons for an older child. One who saw poetry in expanses of green and gold. The correlation between this beautiful blending of nature with that of humankind.

I walked that lane a last time when we left the farm. Truly it was a heartfelt journey. No cattle. No beetles. No horse. No fences. As a child in mourning, I felt the earth and loved it even more deeply. I felt the sting of the fence and was glad it was gone. I absorbed the earth, and it would hold me forever.

Fences. My horse had tried to rub me off on those nasty wires. The sheep lost wool on the nasty barbs. My world down that dusty lane was full but restricted. Those fences had separated fields as I sat looking at the view from the hill. Then progressive thinking removed the barriers and created and flawless landscape. A landscape of unity that has accompanied me all these years. Oh, how I would love to be walking that dusty lane once more.


By Pamela Loxley Drake

On Neff Road

Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

No posts to display