A Dream of Fields
We didn't expect to get anything
out of Community Supported Agriculture
except a big box of organic produce every Saturday.
Then we went to the seed-selection party in February
and met the farmers and made some new friends.
We went to a planting day in March and another in April,
watching our children scamper through the muddy fields.
After worktime came storytime, old myths and legends
about farming and farmers and their pesky adversaries --
fairies who spoiled the milk or stole the honey if offended,
man-eating trees that hid in abandoned orchards,
and chupacabras who sucked the goats dry.
There were stories about patrons of farming, too --
Diancect and Airmid of the healing herbs,
Shujun the god of agriculture who tamed oxen to the plow,
tempermental Demeter who blighted the world
to win her daughter back from Hades.
It was surprising to see fairy houses tucked here and there
at the bases of trees and inside corners of raised beds.
When I remarked on them, the farmers just winked at me
and said, "Someone has to look out for the little neighbors."
In May we went to a weeding day, and there
amongst the dandelions and bindweed
grew the shining spirals of silverbells.
"I've long had a dream of fields, and organic gardening,"
said the woman owner, "but I never imagined weeds like this!
I swear, the things you discover when you move
out of the city and quit using herbicides."
My daughter's seeing-eye gremlin made
a soft "gruff, ruff!" like one dog greeting another.
"Well, you know how it is with pets and wildlife,"
I said smoothly. "They track in all sorts of seeds."
We sawed at the wiry stems and roots with our tools.
The day was beautiful, sunny but not hot;
it felt good to get away from the suburbs
into the peaceful rural landscape.
The cows mooed, the goats bleated,
the chickens clucked, and the bees buzzed
but none of it sounded like noise.
Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed
a fairy landing on a purple hyacinth.
Well then, I said to myself, we can work with that.
When the May weeding day rolled around,
we brought along the bogeyman
in faded overalls and a floppy straw hat
to keep the sun off his milk-white skin,
and nobody said a word of protest.
* * *
Read about fairies spoiling milk.
Man-eating trees and chupacabras are legendary creatures.
Read about Airmid and Diancect, two herbalists from Celtic mythology.
Shujun is a farming god from Chinese mythology.
Demeter is a Greek harvest goddess.