The Harvest Dance


Backroad Ramblings

Every year around this time a phenomenon takes place. It’s not new, and it’s not unique. It happens in farming country all over the world and has for a long time. But every year it’s amazing to watch. It’s the harvest dance. 

I am not talking about a “dance” dance, I am talking about the actual harvest. You might think it sounds silly, but every year I see it and every year I marvel. There are tractors, harvesters, big trucks, little trucks, implements and vehicles all working together in the same area to get the job done. And when it’s done right, it’s like a dance… and it’s beautiful.

Of course it doesn’t just happen. Just like when a person is just learning to dance, when they first start out, they have to learn the steps. They learn when to go slow and when to hurry. They learn just how close to get to that other piece of equipment and which way to turn. They learn signals. They learn the lingo. They learn patience.

Once they learn the basic steps, they practice. After a couple of days of doing the same things over and over, they get better and faster. They anticipate what will happen and sometimes they are actually ready when it’s their turn. They figure out ways to do it better. Of course, sometimes they still do it wrong and turn the wrong way. And sometimes they get too cocky and have a wreck. Then they slow down again and practice some more. And they think about how that grouchy old guy knew what he was talking about after all. (That is if they still have a job!)

Old hands at the harvest dance can do all the steps at once. They can do their job or any other job, watch every piece of equipment, keep track of loads, talk on the phone and listen to the radio. And they make it look easy, even though it’s not.

It’s just like watching “Dancing with the Stars.” The newbies have to learn. They trip and fall and laugh and look awkward. The real dancers are smooth and graceful and make everyone look good. But they both just keep practicing and pretty soon it’s a real dance...poetry in motion.

 I know, some of you guys are snorting right now, thinking: “Poetry in motion? HA! I’d settle for getting through a whole day without something going wrong.”

But this is your error, you see. Things going wrong is all part of it. If things didn’t go wrong, you wouldn’t appreciate it when things go right. You have to look for that one perfect minute, when everybody is doing the steps. Everybody is in synch. Every machine is running like a well-oiled machine. That, my friend, is a dance. And even if it only lasts a moment, it’s marvelous! 

So have a good harvest everyone. Be safe, have some fun, and above all, enjoy the dance!


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