a place called farm

in celebration of july 31, the anniversary of the day my husband and i got married, this week’s blog posts will be about the ways we mark the passage of time.

a man is laying down on the wooden porch at the side of the house.
he is listening to the rain on the tin roof while his daughter sits cross-legged beside him
playing with a leaf.
the peas need the rain
and the man, the girl, the birds, the bugs,
they are all silent in their relief.
the tractor sits under the shed on the side of the barn
still warm
an old t-shirt tied over the crumbly cushion in the driver's seat.

the man laughs at his daughter's joke,
and his gaze wanders from her face to the old tractor
and for a moment he sees his own father standing there
in his yellow and blue plaid flannel shirt
with his head under the tractor hood
tinkering and swearing
trying to get it to start.

he sees his father stop suddenly
and look out over the field
the one where the corn is now
and his father sees his own father walking the rows
in his gray work pants, saggy at the butt,
inspecting the tassels and opening an ear here and there.

he sees his father stop suddenly
and look down the row
to the field across the dirt path
and his father sees his own father bent over
in his coveralls sweaty and sticky
pulling the tobacco leaves and stacking them up.

he sees his father stop suddenly
and look up at the house
to the porch with the rocking chair
and his father sees his own father sitting there
in his leather boots and shirt buttoned to the neck
watching the rain come down in silent relief.

and just for a moment
the man sitting on the porch
reaches out to the man laying on the porch
and they each know the other is there.
the sitting man's great-great-great-granddaughter smiles.
she can see that in this moment her father is content.