My friend just closed her produce stand yesterday, kind of late for New Jersey. There wasn't a whole lot of produce left for sale, to be honest: some Swiss chard, broccoli, gourds, potatoes and onions. And garlic, the best garlic in the world. But it was a beautiful warm day for December and a good day to say goodbye.
The week before I was walking by and saw her car but not her. I turned to go but heard my name being called. I looked out across the field and saw her in the distance by the few green rows that remained. I walked across the furrows.
Wet and muddy, and it has been a dry year overall. As it cooled the rains came. Of course it's always too wet or too dry, too hot or too cold, too cloudy or too sunny, and for all I know, too beautiful or too ugly. For a farmer, good weather in too much abundance is as bad as bad. A cliche, it is true, but an accurate observation too much observed.
The dog came over. A new dog, not much like the one that died. But just as well adapted to a life at a roadside, where strangers come and are friendly, cars come and go, and the smells of the earth and its children abound.
After we talked for a while she went back to picking her Swiss chard and I went back on my way. There were a few clouds and it was cool.