Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Harvest in Progress

It's late September, harvest in progress. I think I mean that metaphorically as well as literally. These are images of my dad climbing into and out of the red and green harvesting machines. Our neighbor is a farmer, the grandson of the farmer who lived there till he was 101. I say "our," but I haven't lived there for a long time. It was my childhood home.

This past weekend, my husband and I took a trip through the fields, harvest in progress, to Moraine View State Recreation Area to walk the wooded trails. Lots of corn, soybeans at the ready, and the wonderful tall white wind turbines of the windfarms. At the moraine, we walked around a finger of the lake and through a tent camping area with no tent campers; we saw black walnuts hanging from the trees, ginormous orange fungi like smashed pumpkins. It's been a glorious fall so far with summery weather. It was a perfect "self care" weekend after a week of stress.

These days whole scenarios play themselves out in my head. Practical plans line up as excellent mental outlines, then disappear. I wake up at 3:30 a.m., read the new issue of The Sun, want to contact all the writers in it to say how much I enjoyed their work, and set it aside, never doing so. Disrupted sleep patterns are my new way of life; it doesn't stress me out, as I don't resist it. In odd little bunches, I get enough sleep.

Somehow everything gets done. I have to write each thing on a physical weekly calendar, checking it off as I do it. Medical appointments, theatre meetings, deadlines. When I visit my parents, I bring this calendar with me, comparing it to the large wall calendar in their kitchen. I make sure the two calendars match. I add things, I erase things.

These pictures are out of order. In the one just above, he's grabbing the sides of the ladder of the steps to go up. With their arms open, this looks like a gorgeous greeting. Up I go, into the harvesting machine. Hello, hello! What a beautiful blue sky behind it all.

When he came down, my dad said it was sort of scary in the machines. Way up there, very loud. It reminded me of when my son was a toddler, and Gus (still alive!) invited him up into the combine. We almost did it, but I imagined my son up in the cab, the noise beginning, the terror, my son wailing, reaching out for me, unable to exit. I couldn't put any of us through that. Ah, I have a poem about this.

It's almost October. Later in the month, my kids are coming for a visit. I hope they'll be able to spend some time with their grandparents, looking over photo albums; if it's warm enough still, sitting in the yard, gazing over the fields at the windfarm horizon, the setting sun. 

If you look closely, you can see my dad on the steps of the machine.

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