Round Bales

[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]esterday, on the outskirts of Samson, Alabama, I found myself stuck behind a round baler. He traveled about eight miles per hour. He poked his hand out the window and waved me on. I ignored him. The weather was perfect, too beautiful to drive fast.

If you don’t know what baling is, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s marvelous. You owe it to yourself to visit your nearest Hick-Town, USA, and watch the first cutting of a foraging crop. Chances are, you’ll find it as interesting as watching a television test-signal in black and white.

Unless you grew up baling hay.

I can remember the first spring cuttings, as a boy. The green smell in the air was strong enough to taste on our tongues. The sunburns were nasty, the work thankless, our shoulders weak. I wish we’d have known back then that it was fun labor.

Because we all stood in line to hate it.

The baler pulled over to the side of the road to let me pass.

I pulled up next to him and rolled my window down.

He was a young man of about eighteen years. His lower lip was stuffed full – the same way ours were at that age.

“What’re you baling today?” I called out to him.

He gave me a funny look. “Fescue, and some orchard.”

“Great day for it.”

He shook his head from side to side. “Man I hate doing this.”

“God, don’t I know it.” I said. “But one day, you’ll miss it.”

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