Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Illustrations for Living A Life

The first sunrise of summer took its own sweet time getting here. Though the newspaper listed 6:09 as the magic minute when night would officially surrender to day, there was not much to see as the witching hour arrived last Friday.
June 21, 2019, 6:09 AM
By 6:14, a tinge of pink colored the sky in a painter's pastel palette and teased that a sunrise was possible.
Still, the dew coated the air and the horizon with moisture. And unlike the windshield, the obscured view couldn't be wiped away with the flick of a switch.
By 6:23, the sun was starting to crease the stubborn cloud cover in the eastern sky. As I watched my farmer watch the sky, I remembered the words of poet Mary Oliver shared by a speaker at the annual church conference a few weeks ago:

Instructions for Living A Life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

Perhaps this watercolor-hued sunrise over a corn field didn't have the drama of the full sun playing peekaboo with the horizon. But I was still glad to be there as the corn stalks rustled in the breeze and the birds greeted the morning with a "Wake up!" trill. The wispy, fast-moving clouds seemed to be playing tag with a jet that streaked across the newly awakened sky.
And we officially said "Hello!" to another day and the official start of summer. Perhaps we should not be surprised that summer began with cloud cover and dew. After a wet fall and spring, it should be a familiar guest.
The light splashed across the green field, kind of like a teenage girl dusting glitter on her cheeks before a high school dance. The morning just hinted at the heat that would have the thermometer climbing above 90 degrees on Friday.

The night before, June 20, I documented the final sunset of Spring 2019. Harvest is a slow-poke this year.
The golden hour was made for golden wheat.
But, in reality, the fields had quite a bit of green last Friday. Yesterday (June 24) my farmer told me the wheat was close to ready. The saturated fields are another story. 
The mosquitoes were my only companions as the day faded to darkness like the end of an old-time movie.

The seasons that came before Summer 2019 were like an obstinate toddler, throwing a temper tantrum and crying buckets of tears which filled our fields - and our basements - with its wrath.

The weekend brought even more moisture. Friday night, we got 0.30 inches of rain here at home but had as much as 2 inches on other farm ground.  Then, we got up Sunday morning to a rain gauge with 2.30 inches in it. Just two miles away, we had a total of 4 inches over the weekend, and one of our landlords dumped 4 inches out of his rain gauge several miles away, too.
Thankfully, these spectacular clouds over the Stafford golf course only produced a sprinkle of moisture on our Sunday evening excursion.
Those sprinkles through raindrops produced a rainbow. And, yes, I made Randy pull over so I could take a photo.
The leftover clouds created a spectacular sunset later Sunday evening.
Sunset over a CRP field
When I saw the red bleeding into the sky above the kitchen window, I grabbed my camera and drove down the road.
I sometimes watch those Beach Hunters episodes where people want a view of the water. We have lakefront property in our corn fields.
 I don't think that's what they have in mind.
I suppose there is always hope in a sunrise or sunset. 

Let me keep my mind on what matters ... 
which is mostly standing still 
and learning to be astonished.
Mary Oliver, Poet


  1. A glorious if worrying time on the farm.

    1. Yes, it is very green and pretty. We finally got started cutting wheat yesterday (June 26). It's the latest Randy and I have ever begun harvest in our 38 years of marriage.

  2. Your photos are always a delight to see Kim. Good luck with the harvest!