Friday, August 31, 2012

Green Leaves of Summer

Green leaves of Summer;
Memories of times long past
and fields of my youth.
The green leaves of summer in the fields of my youth were the leaves of six acres of mature tobacco plants awaiting harvest beginning in mid August.. 

Known as housing tobacco, harvest meant long days in the fields and barns getting the crop in the house. I remember the pop and snort of the tractor taking us to the field, the rhythm of bending the plant over and cutting it off low to the ground with a single whack of the cutter and then moving on to the next plant.  I remember how to stack the cut plants so they were easy to pick up and how to load them on the wagon without breaking the leaves. 

I remember the feel of the sun on my neck and often shirtless back. Sweat got in my eyes. Tobacco gum, the incomparably bitter sap of the plant, got all over everything, sometimes so much that I could stand my jeans in the corner for the night. And the taste got in my mouth. Only a ripe tomato filched from a vine on the edge of the field could get rid of it. 

Only in retrospect do I realize how good it all was, how important those times were and will ever remain.
As the song says

"It was good to be young then,
To be close to the earth,
And the green leaves of Summer
Are calling me home."