I never knew when I was young what it meant
to be ‘walking in high cotton’ until I saw
the waves of cotton fields across the
panhandle of northern Texas.
We stopped by the road to pick a few to see
if they were really cottony soft and white.
Flat horizon and cotton as far as you
could see, it went forever and then.
Older now I know, that high cotton means work,
hard and back breaking. Even with machines
there is nothing easy about cotton but
how it feels combed and smooth.
“Walking in high cotton” means a bumper crop
with the hard work still to come and still
we grow it, we pick it and we bale it.
Sell it and someone wears it.
I feel like those cotton fields sometimes,
do different from a distance than close
up and in your hands. The hard and
the soft grow together here.
We don’t grow cotton on the northern plains,
we grow corn, soy beans, hay and canola.
We raise cows, hogs, chickens and
sometimes we raise hell.
We dance in the fields and in the dirt here.
We chase the cows and fix the fence.
We raise our kids and our dogs
and we love on the land.
Remembering the first time I saw cotton fields as we drove across Texas as a child. I thought the white and black fields would never end under that flat horizoned sky. Those endless plains on that endless drive keeps me seeking hills and trees but it reminds me too that we who farm and ranch do it because we love it. Copyright 2012 Shanyn Silinski. Prompt from With Real Toads today.