Remembering a sunny July day
On a freshly turned field.
With a tractor idling forward and
Dragging grandpa’s old stone boat.
I followed along as the sun grows high
Roasting my pale skin brown.
Many hours pass by in endless furrows
With cool earth between my toes.
Quartzite cracked by weather
And tumbled by glacier drift
Buried deep in Dakota Prairie
Then squeezed up from their rest.
Rocks lifted by many seasons
Then tugged from the ground
Carried a short distance
And tossed into the skid.
The engine cracked and rumbled
Misfiring under choke
The flywheel kept a rhythm
While the tractor slowly lurched along.
Water crocks wrapped in burlap
Kept mostly in the shade.
Heavenly liquid provisions,
Were sipped slowly throughout the day.
When the load got too heavy
We climbed aboard the rocks
Headed to a slough bed
And tossed them to the edge.
Through years of toil the pile would grow
And sheltered forms of life
Fox roamed among the cracks
Some dug a family’s den.
The prairie sky keeps shinning down
And it seems the days are hotter
I walk the field and look around
And see more rocks need picking.
– Clarence Holm