at my grandmother’s ranch there is an old swing that my grandfather put up when my dad was a boy. a pole stretches between two oak trees and the swing hangs, rusted and squeaking, but still the best spot to view the 300 acre spread. two flat old rocks lay quietly beneath your feet, bowed in the center where people have “pushed off” to set the perfect gentle sway for many years. at my grandmother’s ranch there are memories as wide and open as the fields. my mind at night, nostalgic and bare, can remember just how it felt to lay on the warm handmade rugs in the piano room with the tinkling and tonks of my cousin’s clumsy fingers picking notes out of dusty hymnals. the winter nights we sat outside, bundled in blankets watching a satellite crawling like a spider between stars, drinking mulled wine and smoking cigars. my grandmother’s old farm dog, challenger, growling low into the night at coyotes coming to close to the chickens. my grandmother’s sunken bathtub full of icy water when i was delirious with fever. the cattle bawling in the field at dawn, and my uncle walking across fields in his black rubber boots. the screen door’s creak as he came back in to stoke the fire. my fingers: stained green from picking walnuts, wet with milk from feeding bottle calves, sticky from picking grapes off the vine, or torn from pulling fescue seeds from the shaft. i remember sorting my grandmother’s button collection in the sunny kitchen while she fixed batches of potatoes and okra from the garden. later my cousins and i caught tadpoles in the creek, until a wisecracking snapping turtle chased us to the barn to hunt for my uncle’s old collection of arrowheads and geodes. my grandfather is buried in a little cemetary on the edge of the field, as quiet as the sunsets.