Winter likes to have its way with us, and some folks are determined to go with the flow and allow the season to take us where it wants us to be.
That’s always much less frustrating and stressful to say and do, of course, for those who aren’t dealing with livestock and crops this late in January. Going with winter’s flow brought some guilt to me the other day, as I hopped onto a pair of back-country cross-country skis to tour the edges of some of the neighborhood’s yet-unharvested corn fields.
“Do you have enough snow for that yet?” one of the neighborhood farmers said through his Jeep’s rolled-down window as he stopped by me on the road I was about to cross on my skis.
That moment of guilt struck, as I was doing something for mostly leisurely purposes with the excuse that I was going to tour those corn fields along the way. The farmer might think I should have something more constructive to do on a Saturday morning.
The guilt passed when I realized he was driving along the ridge as part of a group doing some winter coyote hunting; my demeanor turned to happiness for him finding time to be doing something other than worrying about the crops or his farm animals.
But even that moment of being away from his farm concerns was wrought with concern about what was going on in the fields. He certainly would rather have been turning his eyes to a coyote crossing a field within our sight, one of his crew’s hounds tight on its tail. Instead, his eyes turned to one of the fields with corn still standing.
“It’s done for now,” he said, knowing I’d understand that he was referring to this season’s late harvest. “I can’t get out in the fields anymore.”
It wasn’t the first time his eyes turned that way during the 2019 growing season that’s stretched into a 2020 harvest. And, it wouldn’t be the last time.
The best either of us could do for that day was to divert our attention away from the matter, if only for a couple of hours: He with his coyote hunting, and me with my skis.