By I IS ME
Ben stopped in the middle of the row and allowed both Dink and himself
to take a breather. They had been in the field steady plowing since first
light. Trudging up and down this field, row after row, walking behind Dink
and his plow.It seemed the three of them had a different conversation everyday.
Out here cutting rows in this unyielding soil, everything became animated.
You became more in tune to nature, hearing and smelling a storm on the
wind. The bird flocks brought and carried messages all day long. The tree
line surrounding the field collected secrets at night and in the day they
would reveal. The gossiping of crickets, every insect, and bird that dwelled
there. They told where the possums, the raccoons, and the honey hid at.
This was useful information in the middle of winter, when you're trying
to feed a family.
Back to the conversation at hand, the plow is having his say. He likes to discuss the soil and it's texture.He's thanking Dink and Ben for removing all the big stones. He could remember when this soil was full of stones and he needed constant sharpening. But now it is a pleasure to work this soil, to cut the beautiful rows in it's face all day long. Ben promised his plow a good sharpening this very weekend. If he could finish up plowing his field, then he could take work on some of the other farms, plowing their fields. If everything stayed on course, he should be able to hire out starting Monday.
And then there was also Dink, and he always has something to say. Most people would not think a mule could be so smart, but Dink could go on for days on the weather alone. Dink was the one that recommended clearing this piece of land. He pointed out that the extra food and money would come in handy this winter. Ben agreed with Dink because he was usually right. He pointed out that they could be finished by Friday, plowing and pulling a few stumps. But Dink has been in a feisty mood lately, and has been begging to be turned out into one of the pastures close by. Ben felt that Dink had more than earned him some time to hoot a little. He promised Dink that Saturday morning he would take him down by the creek and let him eat some of that sweet grass. He also promised that he would sneak him into someones pasture Saturday night. Dink heard this and started pulling harder and faster.
But today Ben wasn't himself. Two straps had broken already today, all Ben could do was complain. He argued with Dink over and over every time he passed wind, like he didn't know Ben was back there. Any other day this didn't bother Ben, Dink and him didn't argue about natural things. But today it bothered Ben, and Dink seemed to take pleasure in doing it. Ben wondered why, why was he doing all of this? Out here in this field in all this heat, plowing this field. He could easily take a job on one of the bigger farms and have help doing everything. Most of the bigger farms really took care of their workers. He could also get a job at the local sawmill and work under a tin roof all year long. Those guys also had steady pay and credit all over town for the winter times. "Why Dink why," could be heard all over the field, as Ben readjusted the strap on his shoulder.
Dink was use to Ben and his ways, so he just let him ramble. The only thing louder than Ben's mouth right now was his stomach. Dink judged by the sun, figuring it almost dinner time thank goodness. "Dink, you know what, I'm gonna give it up." "That's what I'm gonna do, I don't have to work like this." "Why Dink", Ben said, as he unstrapped Dink, and lead him to the tree line. Ben turned Dink loose so that he could graze, while Ben sat under a tree looking in the direction of the house. Dink knew that he was still asking himself why. But then Dink saw the answer in Ben's eyes. Ben's face lit up as he saw his crew, Belle and all the children, marching out to the field carrying Ben's dinner. Belle looked like the sun coming down that road, followed by several little dwarf stars, all that Ben needed in this world. Dink and Ben looked at each other and enough was said, Monday they would be hiring out. Because he was Ben, his own man, he owed no man anything, and that crew coming with his dinner was, why.