Oh, those lazy Indian summer days! I promised you we'd go out to play -- those days of gentle breezes, clear blue skies, 55 degrees and no humidity. Days where you don't go back inside, so I went outside with new camera in hand. As you know, I'm taking some online digital photo classes (more on that later).
What does it look like in south Louisiana in the fall? Well I couldn't find any trees with turning leaves yet, but I found cotton!It's already defoliated and picked through once, but they'll go through it again. You don't get the full effect here of what my dad used to call the sweet sight of snowy cotton which came right after defoliation when the cropdusters swept down so low we'd duck our heads - mile after mile from our backdoor to every treeline, cotton. I wasn't raised on a farm and I lived in the city, but my dad was in agricultural sales and he's stood in as many fields as any farmer with me in hand a lot of the times. It seemed like we always lived on the edge though, the edge between city and country. Once, we lived in a new neighborhood that was developed right on the edge of a cotton farm next to a deserted railroad track opposite an old cemetary. I could tell you a story or two!
The cotton is packed in modules now, but not too long ago cotton was picked then dumped into cotton trailers. We couldn't wait to get home from school. I'd jump the chainlink fence (no privacy fences back then), hop over the railroad tracks and land in cotton. We'd watch the John Deere cottonpicker far in the distance betting as it got closer that it was time for the basket to be emptied. We'd get out of the trailer as more cotton was loaded. When the trailer was full to overflowing, we'd wrestle and jump packing it down. We'd stay out until the pickers made their last turn with headlights on. Exhausted we'd sit doing nothing until the last engine died. Then came the "Eeerzeercck Eeerzeercck" of the cicadas; so loud we'd cup our hands over our ears and run through the trees, around the fence and into the carport. Time to take a bath, but not without cottonbolls stuffed in a pocket or two.
I was taught that once all the cotton was picked, a "good" farmer would plow under his cotton stubble and yesterday while taking these photos from the edge of a busy highway, this is what I saw. From a treeline following a bayou, came a cloud of dirt and the hum of a John Deere. (I was also taught the only farm equipment worth having was John Deere.) I strained my eyes and set my camera. All I could see was a whirlwind of dust. What would emerge? Oh! I was hoping for a cottonpicker! When most of the dust had settled and I could finally get a shot, imagine my delight when a farmer came bursting out of the dust, riding a John Deere plowing down his stubble. -- MY HERO!
Yes, I still live on the edge of the city and country even though I have moved many times. I find comfort in small things and know we still live in good times. As I was walking back to my car, a man in a pickup truck from across a divided highway and traveling in the opposite direction, stopped and asked, "Are you okay? Do you need some help?" "No," I waved, "just taking pictures!"
I let troubles go knowing when the dust settles, I end up with something much better than I expected, so I don't keep my thoughts on the storm. I've learned where to find true comfort when the dirt kicks up in my life, it's through Christ and my hope is that you find your true comfort there also.
That was part of my Indian Summer Day -- those days in the south when summer can't let go yet, but knows fall is fast approaching. There'll be more to come. Blessings, Terri