Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Plowing

Grandpa could read the skies: a moon dog at dusk that meant rain was coming, or high clouds that meant he could cut hay. I watched him once touch newly plowed dirt to his tongue and then spit it out. When I asked him why he’d done that he told me that he could taste things in the dirt: minerals and moisture and richness for planting. I nodded and tasted the dirt myself when he wasn’t looking.

He was right.

I tasted iron, like when your mouth bleeds. I tasted what it smells like before it rains. The dirt tasted like earth and rain and sunshine and life. It tasted rich and gritty and ready. Grandpa nodded at me. He’d caught me after all. I spit the dirt out, smiled, and turned with him to the tractor. We both climbed aboard and circled the field again once, twice, turning the dry dirt over. Behind the plow the soil went from dry, crusty taupe to pillows of dark chocolate brown--ready for planting.

It was finally spring.


farmgirl said...

Oh, friend, you are making me home sick. I haven't been there for plowing since I was in high school...I think my favorite part of plowing is watching all the millions of birds following close behind.

Mindy said...

I love peering down the long rows of freshly plowed fields - nice and neat.
I remember my grandpa letting me ride on the tractor. He sat me atop of the big tire and asked me to hold tight to the wheel cover. I feared the tire would smash my fingers everytime I looked down at them. Thanks for taking me down memory lane.

teddi said...

I could just wrap myself in the images you paint!

One Woman's Thoughts said...

My mother could read the weather, and the soil and it seems like just about everything else.

I always thought there was magic in what she could do.
I miss that with her being gone.

I appreciate the way you stirred up a memory for me.