Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Anything But Green

JournalWord: Shucking.


The greens of the corn stalks are the only shade to the unrelenting blaze of the flaming ball, tossed into the vast blue and whites of foaming clouds on a cool glass of water. The flat lands of the farm are covered in a stand-still carpet of tall, swooping stalks, heavy with the late summer harvest. The hanging pods of the corn bob like sunflowers dancing to the hum of bumblebees, and wait for the grateful support of a calloused hand twisting the vegetable off it’s precarious cliff. 

I shimmy through the crop, picking, twisting, and placing ears into a basket chaffing my arm. I test the weight of the basket as I walk through the maize, hurriedly loading the wicker until my arm slacks from the picks. The shed is a shabby, worn but steady wooden structure in the middle of the maize. The peeling rustic red paint peeks through the emerald leaves, a sliver of unrequited love on an otherwise dry afternoon. The glitter of tools underneath crusts of mud lead me to the shed, and I take a moment to wipe the sticking sweat off my brow. The brown wheelbarrow beside the shed is half full of bright golden corn, cloaks of husks ripped off and piled beside a crouching girl. 

I trample through the clearing, sliding over the packed dirt with a conscious ease toward the girl, wicker basket between my sweaty hands. I drop the basket beside her tiny, three legged stool and reach for the empty basket beside her, eyes locked to her frayed pigtails. Her dark hair is frizzing in the heat, curling and sticking to the sides of her neck. She rips off a chunk of husk from an ear, revealing the shock of color hidden under layers of deceitful green. 

The muscles in her arm flexes the tan line on her forearm when she tosses away the corn’s cloak. Her raw, practiced hand grips and rips another portion of the cloak with a sharp yank from the corn, digging green stained fingertips into the layered leaves. The gilded kernels shine in the palm of her hand, a smile to her pressed chapped lips. I watch her cast the cleaned ear into the wheelbarrow with a twist of her faded, jean overalls and the habitual reach for another. 

I grip the handle of the empty wicker basket, shaking my head from the buzzing of the burning crickets. I tread back towards my section of the crop, smiling through the leaves in my face and chuckle.  

“She sure knows how to shuck.”



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