For ten months, when I was twelve, I worked on a farm. There are no records of that time except in my mind. I have no pictures, writings, or memory scraps from the events of the time. Yet, I never forgot. Something about learning to operate and repair a 1956 International Harvester tractor etched itself on my heart and mind. I loved that faded red machine! I loved riding my bicycle up the dirt road from our home to the farm. I was earning 5.5 cents per hour and thinking I was rich. The two growing seasons stayed with me long after the smell of alfalfa and the taste of fresh corn on the stalk have faded.
The work was hard, especially for a short young kid. Lifting hay bales for the cows was a price I willing paid for the chance to be in the tractor seat. My days were filled with new things to learn, see, and experience! It was a wonderful introduction to the processes of life.
After plowing and disking, harrowing, it was time to plant. I was not thinking about what followed. My focus was on getting the contents from the heavy bags of seed up and into the planting attachment. The dusty seeds were hard. Frankly, they were ugly. Something seemed to remind me that they would not always be this way.
I look back and wonder what a farmer would have whispered in my ear. If I had a young kid working on my farm, I know what I would tell him.
‘Take a good look. “The corpse that’s planted is no beauty, but when it’s raised, it’s glorious. Put in the ground weak, it comes up powerful.”’ (1 Corinthians 15.43)
I initially thought that all we had to do next was harvest. I was so naïve! Alternating days were filled with hand laid irrigation pipes, trudging through mud to move them to the next area, waiting to then weed and for some crops, hoe by hand.
It was overwhelming until life began to show itself. Wow, new beginnings.