Friday, July 15, 2011

Season of the Dry

I watched my evening news of choise last night and NBC's Brian Williams presented a piece on the drought in the Southwest. Texas was particularily hard hit. I remembered a piece a wrote several years ago when an earlier drought devestated the ranchers, farmers and citizens of Texas.

It seems appropriate today for this blog. I have pulled several photographs off the internet to illustrate the pathos of the pain experienced in Texas.

Season of the Dry
Rolland G, Smith

“They’ll die some more today,” he said, hitching up his overalls.
The dry steals life, leaf by leaf, when green bows to beige.
“Does the green go where it’s wet?” he wondered,
“Is heaven wet and green? Maybe it will rain today,” he thought,
and shook his head in disbelief at the season of the dry.

He stepped out on the porch and looked upon the field:
weakened stalks of corn, in amber tilting wilt,
a bending supplication to the sun.
A momentary tear welled within his eye
but passed just as quickly in the scorching dry.

“I’ll be with the corn,” he said, moving down the path.
Sarah watched him go, slowly, reverent, to the corn,
like walking to a coffin respectful of the dead.
She knew his heart was saddened, his step told her that.
Each seed, each kernel, a part of him, a planted child,
no given name, but Corn, yet nurtured, and loved,
even as the end came creeping in the season of the dry.

He moved, stepping gently, tender, softly between the rows,
his hands on either side, outstretched in touch,
feeling for the green of life suckled deep within each stalk
protecting root and source
from the searing, barren crust.
“The rain must come,” he said, “to end the season of the dry.”

Then he stood in middle field, surrounded by a leafy wail.
Each plant had spots and withered wrinkles,
long below their time, each holding to an expectation and reservoir of hope,
waiting for the irrigation that nature’s spirit springs
upon a season of the dry. When all that’s left is trust.

It might have been the heat or maybe something else,
but soon the farmer’s weathered heart
became the mendicant, pleading to a sentient earth,
“Let the water flow.
I know there is some moisture here, some hiding healing rain,
so needed in this parching scorch in the season of the dry.”

“Send the rain,” he prayed, “erase the baking scars,
the tempered cracks of heat that leave their open wounds
stretched long upon the arid fractured loam.
Corn and weed cannot compete,” he thought,
“weakness saps their strength.
They find a way to die together, in the season of the dry.”

Standing there, his waist above the waste, he sobbed.
No one could see his tears, nor his heaving sigh.
“Farmers aren’t supposed to cry,” he thought,
“just sow and reap, not weep.
If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, I’ll have to plow them under, deep,
underneath the dry.”

Later, coming home, he stopped, to find a masking smile.
“Sarah needn’t know,” he thought, only that he’d paid respects
to the corn he’d hoped to grow, before it went to ground.
She watched him through the screen and opening the door,
she smiled faintly in return, as she kissed him on the cheek
and wiped away a telling streak from the season of the dry.

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