Of the three
The first cutting of hay is the tastiest, easiest to chew, most nutritious.
Click---wickety-wickety-click---wickety-wickety the stook mechanical machine, pulled by one
horse bounces along rhythmically singing like those hundred clocks all out of sync
pulled at a natural pace set by the horse, creating almost, but not exactly straight lines up the hill and back around, an Amish do-si-do of wooden slats on a crooked Ferris wheel, a chaos of parts so tilted sideways only the weight of the young lad leaning to the opposite, counter-balancing does it not all collapse. English as I am I look on thinking by rights it should not be working, such a clatter and chaos of parts and yet out urps a stook all the way through the pasture.
Mice and grouse dive for cover.
Birds arrive and hover for flying seeds.
An entrancing sound approaching and turning, easy to lose myself in,
as entrancing as the Sufi mystic whirling into another realm of being.
each stook shakes itself into an unforgettable character declaring here-I-slink, here-I-lean,
a line of characters, a dignity of their own
up and around and back
ready for a hug and a lift and a swirl onto a horse drawn wagon.
I stand by the side of the road hiding my camera behind my back out of respect,
envious to be the young lad leaning to the side, listening to the soft rhythm clattering away
the occasional hiccup as another stook falls out the side and I wonder,
have the sounds of my world become obsolete because they no longer
draw me into a different realm outside my tiny self?
If I could put aside my English skeptical notion “it will never work,”
is a new realm I’ve longed for on the far side?
This is why I take those long, slow rides down gravel roads
without caring where I am or where the road will lead. I wonder what new vista
of life I’ve never seen will appear at the top of the next hill and I’ll be amazed at what my “usual and customary” has kept me from seeing, prevented my heart from enlarging into a new tenderness I didn’t know I had. ©John Holliger 2014