A heritage of rolling hills and farmland is a rich legacy; if you’re blessed enough to have lived among salt of the earth people in rural places, then you are blessed enough.
In many regions across our great land, one can claim “farmer” identity without having tossed a single
bale of hay; we are farmers by proxy – identifying with the fields of dry
cornstalks adorning the roadways; the smell of burning leaves is in our DNA.
If you have
thrown a bale into the loft, or if you have witnessed a sunset while atop a rumbling
tractor seat, then you are stitched into the very fabric of rural life.
Like the harvested
fields, we are preparing for a season of rest and quiet; a hushed interval of
Recently I discovered
the legacy of singer, Stan Rogers, a prominent voice of Canadian folk music. Rogers was noted for
his rich baritone voice and traditional songs, inspired by the daily lives of working people -- especially
those from fishing villages and farms. Sadly, he died in a fire
aboard an airplane at the age of 33.
Rogers wrote the
lyrics to the song, “The Field Behind the Plow.” In the words, I dug out this
“Watch the field behind the plow turn to
straight dark rows,
Put another season's promise in the ground.”
The sentiment is
about Springtime and the planting of seeds; the formation of tidy rows and the
As we hunker down and
fortify our walls against the elements, I like to cast a different light on
that line: “Put another season’s promise in the ground” might also give a nod
to a fresh blanket of snow, covering fields that have recently lined our pantry
shelves. Orchards and vineyards, soon cloaked in ice, have given us pies and applesauce;
juice and wine; preserves and jams.
promise becomes a provision for the winter months. We can, with abundance,
enjoy the taste of summer in the darkness of December.
While the earth
freezes, we can still savor the juicy delight of a garden tomato. Or Grandma’s
impossibly yummy watermelon rind pickles.
This is what I love
about farm country. Promises abound whether it’s planting time, growing season
or harvest. Promises even thrive in winter when the fields are at rest.
If joy is measured by
produce-laden tables, may your pearls be pomegranates; may your diamonds be
Next time you see a
resting field, consider the one who planted and worried when it didn’t rain;
the family who unloaded their pickup at the farm stand, week in and week out.
In that field, deer
may be bedding down at night. Turkeys will perform their comic dance across
those brown fields. Geese will stitch seams into the sky overhead.
These, too, are
promises of the season: things we can bank on, no matter the economic
Savor the moments. As
Maya Angelou famously wrote, “Buckle close friends to your soul.”
We really can have
summer memories in the raw winds of wintertime.