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Farmer Afields
by Theodore Yves Behr

The farmer was out watching over his fields one night during the hot summer evening. The crops had not been good this year and with little rain the pasture was dry, but still alive. Barely. Looking up into the summer stars he saw a scene that he had witnessed a hundred nights. All the stars gazing back at him like a thinly veiled tapestry hiding the light behind it.

His wife came out to greet him in the yard and she always had. Draped in a light sundress and holding out a cool glass of lemonade, just sweet enough to please the tongue and sour enough to pucker the lips. God how he hated lemonade. But every night he would drink it down with a warm heart since she put so much care into getting it just right. And once done he would take her worn hands in his and they would sit among the oak trees talking about this and that, or sometimes just saying nothing at all.

The children had long since left, running off to their fancy careers in the city. It was just the two of them now. Occasionally one of their sons would drop by with his wife and their grandchildren. They were always wanting to help out for a spell until the sun rose too high in the afternoon sky. Then it was off to the old swimming hole down the road by Old Charlie's place. For the number of hands it seemed like only half the work ever got done on those days but it was still time well spent.

This summer thou, even the children had been too busy to visit. The old swimming hole was more mud than water which just seemed to make the crops seem that much dryer. Crying out for rain rather than the dry hot wind ripping the top soil from their roots.

It had been a rough decision to sell the old place. Looking out across the night sky, the stars seemed to echo the hollowness of having to give up the land that had been a living testament to six generations. In the morning the trucks would arrive with the friends and neighbours that were still left hoping to pick up a bargain or two from the auction. Some would just look to see what they had accumulated over the years of working the farm. Others would come to make sure they got a fair price. And the bankers would come to collect on the interest that forced them into selling in the first place.

God seems to have no mercy on the meek sometimes for it is they who are indebted from the earth.

The old farmer took a sip from his glass, his lips already puckering in anticipation of the sweet and sour liquid within. With a look of mild surprise it never came but rather the soothing flavour of the iced tea he much preferred. With the moon cresting the horizon, the faintest stars washed away in the reflective glow, he took her hand as he normally did and brought her close to him. Her eyes shone for no one but him even in these times that they now face.

In that moment he pondered that maybe God doesn't give mercy to those in need, but rather gives it to those who cherish the moments they have now. That each moment can be faced with trepidation or the spirit to move beyond in love and harmony come what may.

He finished the iced tea and again, taking her hand in his, they gazed upon the waning moon rising high amongst the stars under the oak trees that they had called home. His heart felt lighter then, lifted of its burden, and knowing that, in all places, he will be always be home.

 

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