Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sorghum

Question: What do you do when you have sorghum?  Answer: You go to the dentist.  Scratch that.  You don't go to the dentist for sorghum, though I badly need some serious dental attention right now.  What you do when you have ripe sorghum is harvest it.  The rhythm of agricultural work is not complete without the harvest.  There is so much satisfaction from the wholesale destruction of a crop that you spent so much time planting and nurturing.  There is pleasure in removing it, in clearing it from your field, a retrospective pleasure that can be twinged with sadness for the soft hearted, or that can be downright ecstasy for the hard hearted.  It depends on what type of person you are.  Many of us are in the middle.  If you are like me, there's satisfaction in cutting down rows of gorgeous plants.  The harvest marks the end of something, but a cleared field can also be refreshing.  Especially if you rotate your crops.  True misery is when you hack down acre upon acre of corn, knowing that you will only plant more of the same corn in the spring.  Good organic farmers, however, know that where this year sorghum grew, next year squash will grow.  Squash may not be better than sorghum, it may only be different.  You could read this text as a reflection upon love and love lost.  It's better, however, to read it as life and more life.  Life goes up and life plummets: the sorghum rises and the sorghum gets whacked down.  If you don't believe me, you can watch this X-Country Road and Farm mini Feature Film: "Sorghum."