I like the quiet hush when the sun sets and the crickets come out singing songs about summer. I like a big porch with a chair where the cat curls and paws at passing dog tails, “pat pat pat” as they lope by towards the smell of adventure that lives down in the grass and bushes. I prefer the scent of dusty hay where the animals sleep, the musk of livestock fur that’s weathered rain and ice and deep, searing heat. I prefer the colors green and blue and brown and yellow, the four basic points on the seasonal compass. I barter in food and grain. I’ll trade each and every Saturday night downtown for 10 minutes at the round bale where the black birds perch to consider their prospects. I find some mild weather and iced tea, a hot bath and bourbon will heal most of what ails. I see your commercials to whiten my teeth, to smooth my skin, to coif my hair, to smell artificial and lovely, to make a more perfect version of myself, but I clean up with soap and water, rinse hands in the trough, paint my nails with broken egg yolk, wash my face with lye and milk. A ponytail and stained jeans. Deodorant and chapstick. Worn out boots and barn floors. The sunrays that filter down just where the dust particles float suspended, then swirl and fall gracefully onto the back of a slumbering goat, curled up beside me – that is what can’t be bought or bottled. Untwining hay and lifting new baby animals with these two hands I’ve carried around so long, finally working after all these years; that confidence isn’t lurking in a beautiful dress and makeup. I look better in this skin.