I took a final stretch, and continued to pull, cut, toss, pull, cut, toss... until I got to the end of the row. I then turned around to help the next guy finish.
The rutabaga patch (all fifteen acres) was one of the first places I experienced accomplishment. Eight workers would chip away at the field, pulling by hand row by row... and would exit the field each day with two wagons of two tons of rutabagas. By the end of the day, I could not stand up straight, the backs of my legs howled, and my left arm felt like it was going to fall off. Most of the time, I would opt to walk back to the farmhouse, watching the moonrise, and seeing my breath fog in front of me. By the last day of harvest, looking back at the wasteland of greens and rotting roots, you felt like you accomplished something. My Dad would throw a party for us - with pizza, beer and music. Having that field harvested and in the barn was enough to make me want to cry. My muscles could take a sigh of relief, and I could stand up straight once my back understood that new concept.
Since then, although I work hard - very hard - I have never felt I have worked as hard as I did back then. And while I have accomplished amazing things .... the sense of accomplishment I felt when we pulled that last rutabaga and tossing it into the cart hasn't compared. Maybe it's because all of those years of harvest really did make "strong backs stronger" and my back is strong enough to reap what I sow.
Every Autumn, although rutabaga harvest is a thing of the past, the colder days always remind me of a time of back breaking work.. smelling the combination of cut rutabaga greens, earth, frost and dirt... of being muddy, sweaty, exhausted and more sore than I've ever been. Memories of harvest remind me that my back is indeed strong enough to reap any harvest that I sow. What ever I tend, nurture and grow, I am strong enough to harvest.
I've got knife eight. Thanks Dad.
Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now.... Paradise is making strong backs stronger....