While hiking around a small lake the other day, I came upon a stand of large cottonwood trees. The leaves of the trees made a stirring, rustling sound as they danced in the warm breeze. It is a very unique sound - not easily forgotten - and my thoughts were instantly transported back years earlier when I heard that sound almost every day. Growing up on the farm, we had three large cottonwood trees in the yard and during those hot summer nights, with windows open, the gentle rustling of the leathery leaves was a sound that often sang me to sleep. Hearing that sound again I was reminded of the fun we had as kids building treehouses and playing cowboys - generally just being carefree! It seems that sounds are often associated with pleasant memories. Like a long-forgotten song on the radio that sparks a distant memory, sounds stick with us and become integral parts of our lives, both past and present. Raising alpacas allows us to experience another pleasant sound...that of the peaceful humming of our herd. Like the gentle rustling of the cottonwood leaves, it's a sound that both relaxes and soothes. It's a sound that reminds us of the gentle, inquisitive nature of these wonderful animals. I imagine that one day, many years from now, I'll hear a sound that brings my thoughts back to this very stage of our lives raising alpacas. I'm sure I'll have many pleasant memories of the alpacas we've cared for and the friends we've made along the way.