Thursday, June 7, 2012

Threshing Time

 I always admire a field planted in winter wheat. I watch it throughout the winter for the promise it holds.As spring unfolds and the sun begins the warm the field, it first blushes with pale life, then rushes to grow waves of green and finally - now is the time - it ripens and turns a gold that rivals the sun. The tops swell as the grain matures.

 Today is that perfect day for photography. The sky is a deep blue, the cumulus clouds rise all around in puffs of white and the sun shines between those clouds with brilliant intensity. I grab my camera and imagine days a century ago when the threshing crews prepared to harvest.

 By July 4, if the harvest was on schedule, they'd begin making the rounds, farm to farm, gathering the wheat. The threshing machine itself, often steam-powered, sometimes animal-driven, was shared among the community. The people - men and boys - shared their labor as well. The women laid our wonderful meals.

 They couldn't stop until they were finished ... or until it rained.
 This field will surely be mechanically harvested, the grain separated with metal fingers, the stalks cut and baled with perfect precision. The great modern machines, diesel-driven, replace every man with mechanics. It has none of the romance of year's past.

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