The Wilson Family Farm: An Autumn Experience

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

– Robert Frost

The Sound of Silence

Silence. As I would sit in my grandparents’ house atop the hill on Kedron Road in what was Spring Hill (oh, it is still Spring Hill, but it has little or no resemblance to the town that I knew as a kid). I would sit in the dark bedroom at night, my room facing the front hill side that looked out at the massive oak tree that stood tall just outside the small white picket fence that surrounded the front of the old farmhouse. On the other side of the big oak, the contour of the land tilted down and gradually continued its downward slope until at last, the end of the gravel driveway met with Kedron Road below. From my perch atop the hill, I could see the road and watch for the comings and goings of the cars as they traveled up and down the small country road. Some nights I would stay awake to wait for my mom to come home. She worked tirelessly; sometimes two and three jobs to make ends meet. I would wait until I could see the flash of light from the headlights in the distance. It became a game to see if I could guess which car would slow at the driveway and turn toward the house, lighting up the ceiling in my room as the headlights slowly ascended the hill to the house. In those days, I could count the number of cars that passed by in an hour on the road below on only one hand. In that same spot today, five cars will pass by me in just a few seconds of time. But mostly, I would just sit and stare out into the night and listen. In the summer, you could hear the crickets serenading; the lowing of the dairy cows from the back side of the farm; the occasional owl hooting in the distance; but what I remember most was the silence. Not the awkward first date kind of silence, but the silence of serenity and peace. The silence that makes you remember that you are not alone, that there is something bigger than you at work just outside your window in a vast, star filled sky. When no words need to be spoken and yet all emotion is conveyed by a single, peaceful, silent night. That is the silence I miss.

Autumn on the Farm

It is mid-November at the Wilson Family Farm. The summer’s oppressive heat and humidity has given way to cooler days and chilly nights that hover just above the temperature of freezing as Autumn has descended onto Middle Tennessee. The hue of the leaves around the farm reaffirms this sentiment and announces to the world that once again it is time for change; a slow drift into hibernation arrayed in golds, reds, and oranges that stand in contrast to what is a blue-grey November sky. The clouds hover above the fields like a shadowy, familiar ghost from yesterday’s past. Maple trees that hug the driveway are exploding in colors and welcome visitors to witness the beauty and the pace of nature for a short while longer this season. Soon, the frost will come, and the remaining leaves will begin to saunter to the ground and the mighty trees will lie dormant until the new beginnings of Spring. The old tobacco barn stands tall like a sentinel overlooking the field where the sunflowers still bloom. The last bastion of summer is the sunflowers as they continue to reach up toward the increasingly less present sun. Not long ago the farm was busy with the annual fall festivities with guests and friends enjoying what is increasingly harder to find; a haven from the craziness of the world; a bubble that shields us from the present, a window into yesterday and times that were simpler; not always easier, but less hectic and more social. The soybean fields are ready for harvest now. Rolling hills display their golden color as they stretch to the tree lines and melt into the horizon beyond. Beyond the fields the houses begin. What once was farmland not so awfully long ago, is mostly subdivisions or the beginnings of subdivisions.  Progress is inevitable. The wheels of change are unstoppable and as sure as the sun rising in the East. We gain so much through progress, technology, and invention, and yet, sometimes I cannot help but wonder what are we losing? One can only hope that with all the changes that surround us, especially here in Middle Tennessee, that there will always be a place like this farm to remind us of what was pure, what was good, what was simple, in what is an ever changing and chaotic world in which we live.

Happy Trails

One of the little-known gems on the farm here is a walking trail that weaves through the woods and across the fields around the Wilson Family Farm. All total it is approximately a mile and a half. However, there are much smaller trails that make up the overall trail, with each offering an enjoyable and mostly leisurely stroll through the woods and around the farm. The trail is wide, and mulch covers the entirety of it through the trees. On this particular day in Autumn, the ground as well as the trail are covered with the fallen leaves from the canopy above. They crunch under foot as I walk and I am suddenly aware of the sounds of Fall and how they add to the beauty of the season.  There is a sign as you enter the loop trail at the back of the property. The words of Thoreau echo this sentiment and proclaims that:

“Heaven is beneath our feet as well as above our heads.”

This is never more true than when you are strolling through the woods on an Autumn afternoon here on the farm. I enjoy walking the trail in the late afternoon, just before sunset. It is in these moments with the cool wind against my face that I find myself revigorated. As I pass the big beech tree and step into the opening where the golden soybeans wave with the wind, and glisten with the half light of the late afternoon sun, I find peace within myself, and my soul is restored. It is times like this and places like this that allow us to pause and reflect. And while we must not live in the past, we should embrace it, for it is ours. We should learn from it; keep it in our memories like little snap shots of what we once were and be better than we ever were because of it. We should not fear it anymore than we should fear the future. Plans are in motion that we cannot understand. The giant wheel is spinning, and we cannot slow it down. Life is in the here and now. Remember the past, plan for the future, live in the present. Take time to notice the beauty that surrounds us and to remember those things that were innocent, free, and decent. I hear the squirrels now scampering behind me on the forest floor as they gather food for their winter stores. I hear the birds softly singing in the trees around me, a dog barks in the distance and the lowing of the nearby cattle is heard sporadically. But always, if I stand long enough in this spot, I hear what is soothing to my ears and I get what is nourishing to my spirit. I am taken back to that old house on the hill, and in the gathering darkness, I see the fireflies dancing in the night. I feel the wind on my skin as I sit by the open window and I stare out into the distance looking for headlights, waiting to see if they turn into the driveway. I close my eyes. And then, like an old friend, I hear it–I hear the silence.

Happy Wandering!



The gate is open into a field of grass.

The sun sinks low as the day goes past

Into the twilight of a looking glass.

And the cattle are grazing on the hill.

In the valley the stream runs true

Carving the land as it meanders through

Over the horizon goes the water blue.

And the cattle are grazing on the hill.

Crickets serenade the new twilight

Across the land goes the fading light

Until a half-hearted moon announces the night.

And the cattle are grazing still.

Darkness closes and covers this place

Hugging the earth in a lover’s embrace

Hiding the scars from the bright shining face.

And the cattle are lowing beneath the hill.

Awakened to a new day’s entreating

A shining face and the darkness receding

Onto a shell of what was; the heart barely beating.

And the cattle are lowing still.

Time will pass to a fresh new start

And upon the land they will leave their mark

But in building foundations they remove the heart.

And the cattle go silent on the hill.

Kelly Andrews

© 2021

Autumn summed up in a picture.
An early morning on the farm.
Maple trees welcome the weary to rest
While Camo welcomes one and all.
A perfect backdrop to the sunflower garden
Still abundant into November.
And still very much in bloom.
Soaking up the sun for a little while longer this season.
And so it begins…
Two roads diverged in a wood…
You can cross this bridge when you come to it…
The 2nd leg of the Nature Trail
A perfect Autumn day for hiking
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep…
But I have promises to keep…
And miles to go before I sleep.
Soybeans ready for harvest.
The reward at the end of the trail

4 Comments on “The Wilson Family Farm: An Autumn Experience

  1. This is so beautiful, Kelly! I’ve forwarded it to everyone I can think of that has any connection to the farm or might want one!

    I hope you had an abundantly blessed Thanksgiving!

    Grace & peace,

    Judith Wilson

    “Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused!”



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