Letter: Musings from the farm for Ag Safety Week

If stones and trees could only talk, what a tale they would tell

To the Expositor:

Imagine, if you will. A bright and cloudless day. A mild breeze. That earthy scent of fresh grass hanging on to every gust. Maybe you’re sitting with a drink in your hand. Maybe you’re standing over your barbecue. Maybe your arm balances in the open window while you drive. 

And if you’re a farmer, you’re driving in circles. 

The heat comes in waves off the radiator, pieces of that fresh cut grass are poking into your pores and you wish for a tiny cloud to break up some of the sun. 

It is haying season. 

You obsessively check the radar, praying against that rain you had prayed so hard for just months before. Hoping those clouds in the distance blow away, and don’t turn grey and stormy.

Your lunch sits at your feet, never enough water to wash away the dust, only enough to temporarily get rid of the grit on your teeth. An apple and a sandwich you can eat with one hand while you steer with the other. 

Behind you the haybine whirls. Around and around you drive; that constant spinning wheel, the seagulls picking through the downed grasses and the hot sun your only companions. Soon you can replace the haybine with a baler, but it’s still the same—always spinning, always driving in circles. 

You were up long before you touched the keys, while the grasses still held their drops of dew, while the fog still meandered across the fields. 

Animals to feed, machines to repair, and always that weather to check. It might be dark before you return home, and tomorrow things will start all over again. 

Round bales lifted by tractor forks replace square bales lifted by hand, but the circles are the same. Some of the heavy lifting gets passed onto the machines, but the heat is the same. More of the day is spent driving than lifting, but the dust is the same. 

Haying season. 

Long gone are the days of pitchforks and horses, of kids driving tractors and rides atop a swaying hay pile. But the kids still pose with mice in hand, and the rock piles, dug out to make room for fields to be planted and the grasses to grow, section off fields better than any wooded fence. The trees are larger but largely the same. 

If those stones, those trees could talk.

Steph Burt-Hillyard

Gore Bay