Even though I knew grass was growing taller; plants and trees were spreading their branches and leaves, and flowers never ceasing to open their buds to bloom, it was the clouds that came into my view on that exceptional, motionless day. Not a breath of air could I feel, nothing moved around me, that I could see, except the scuffle of my feet.
I could hear the chirp of birds, singing their songs, and the bees buzzing in their making of honey; I could hear these noises of affirmation, that life was all around me, never silent, never still, but why did I feel this halting sense of longing from this earth? What made this day so unlike all the rest of my days?
In the distance, I could see the tractor, bright orange, parked in the middle of the field, abandoned to the hard packed, weed covered soil. It stood apart from the hues of gray beneath the tread of tires. The metal rakes, hooked to the rear, dragged to a stop out of weariness by this tractor, now abandoned to rust.
I walked through the field, on this mystifying day, and saw the clouds, how they swirled lines and flattened the foreground into the sky, melting the hills away and becoming the background for the living. I felt as though this tractor was about to challenge an ominous, bleak form of nature; the sky and the land threatened against all struggles for survival. What was this orange monolith trying to convey to me on that day?
Loneliness, I found upon his death
With that, darkness shrouded the sky
The wind began to howl, breathing, that’s what I could hear
The sky lifted, swayed in a torment, expanding into life
And to this, it was all I could do but to listen, and watch
The tractor’s motor turned, and this great machine moved slowly forward, pulling tires out from their sluggish positioning in the holes, almost flat where they had slept for years. Slowly, they crept along, without knowing a destination. The wheels turned, and a loud cracking sound resonated from pieces of metal wrenching loose from bolts and screws, metal which had held the rake as one, years ago, but now falling to the ground in large chunks of useless iron, no longer searching.
I thought of you, as you once sat upon this tractor, erect, and silent. You would bow into the wind, steering wheel in your grasp; you turned it around and around. The tires climbed the hill, dust billowing beside you, just as I saw you on that day.
You smiled that day – yes, you smiled at me. I see that smile, as if it were yesterday. You waved, I waved back.
You leaned across your hands; you swayed with the motor humming its low rumble. The clouds perched high in the sky, waiting to take their turn at churning the earth, to humble this rider, this man who sat upright in his wide metal seat. He pushed hard, into the gears, to make the last pass at the field ahead of him, when out of the sky, a bolt came from this single cloud, hitting its mark as if it was meant to be, falling, down he came, to the ground he dropped, in front of my blinded eyes.
blinded was I
that day when the clouds rolled in
blinded to the notion that every day would follow every day
just as it had before, and would always continue to be
that was my man
who sat erect upon his tractor in the field of green
he fell that day
and no one in this world can be seen on that tractor
but the tractor moves as if it had the same heart
the heart that struggled up and down those high green hills
year after year
this is where my heart remains, on that one summer’s day
Through tears, I see an orange blur of steel; the tractor sits in the dusk of evening, quiet and alone - the gray clouds move on, leaving night to take hold of a memory, a memory of that day, a day where everything stood still, a day an orange tractor came to life – but, curiously, existence around me may stand motionless, but memories within continue searching.