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January 2016 vol 11 no 4

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Richard Allen Anderson

Summer Harvest

If there is a heaven, may it be a small farm on the edge of the forest where golden eagles soar in the pale blue summer sky and fat, happy mice live in the granary, where fated flies dance hopelessly on long sticky strips tacked over the kitchen table. The table is laden at dinner time with fresh cow milk, hot yeast biscuits swimming with butter and other items of lesser importance, and the flickering light of a kerosene lantern repels shadows during the short, quiet wait between sunset and bed time.

I experienced this simple idyll in Northern Wisconsin when I was a young boy living the summer away from my home in the city. Remembrance of it never fails to revive the simultaneous antithetical emotions of tranquility and excitement. Except for a few enjoyable chores, the long, hot days were mine to spend in undirected discovery of small and large wonders of nature, butterflies and summer storms, to pump a cool, refreshing drink from the deep well, or pump "The Death of Floyd Collins" through the parlor player piano time after time after time, fly paper airplanes outside in the all-day rain, or climb into the hay mow to gaze at the barn rafters and let my imagination fly with the tiny sparrows.

The summer harvest is finally secured, the barns, cribs and silos filled to capacity, and the summertime orphan returns to his family in the distant city.

after the harvest
cool water in a tin cup
shadows of autumn