Saturday, October 27, 2012

Market season

You live close to the land when you farm,
When you sell produce,
You never know what a season will bring

And so you plant your seeds, your slips in faith
Trusting the one who decides what will live and what will not
What will thrive and what will wither.
You plant and you wait and you watch the skies for rainclouds and sunshine
Check forecasts for frosts
You don’t always see the storms coming.
And yet you prepare what you can
As ready as you can be for the day when the unimaginable rains down upon you

Angels and axles, screams and silence

And then you begin the long wait
The praying as you have never had to pray before
The knowledge that this crop matters to you more than any green plant
But that all you can do, this time, as any other, is trust.

Some do not know where milk comes from or eggs, whether corn grows underground or on high.
You know all this, living so close to the land
And yet even you know that there is still a mystery
At the heart of it all.
Market season spans the summer, with wide margins on either side -
Spinach and strawberries are replaced with corn and tomatoes and peaches, and then it turns
back to spinach again, and pumpkins.

Somewhere around peaches is when you really see the green life sprout up in her again
Around the time the pumpkins ripen she comes home again at long last.
And every day, even as the leaves fall and plants wither, spent,
you see new life and frostbite, drought and flood,
good green growth and ripening fruit within her.

You know years of plenty, years of abundance, but also years of loss, years of less.
And you just never know which it will be: the almanac does not always tell.
You look out now at sere fields, shorn, dying, finished and you know what might have been.
You know what had to die in you this market season.

You know too what did not die
What springs to new life.
Green banners wave hosannas
Like new tassels on tall brave ears of corn

Many people wait a long time for the harvest
Rejoicing when it comes
But none perhaps more than you who sat and sits vigil
Who knows the cost, the mercy, the grace,

This too is a mystery,
at the heart of it all.

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