Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Dance of the Scythe

Hanging on the peg, standing in the corner of the shed, or laying at the edge of ready field—the scythe called to me. The S-curve of its body, thin and strong like a young athlete, a figure skater that comes alive in the strong hands and able command of a simple and perfect man.

It calls to me, still a boy. Watching Dad’s few strokes in two-step cadence-count through grain by the corner of the shed and metal gate showed me its grace and power. I watched expertise, and knew it too was mine with the scythe of hand and heart. Perfect balance, saber-sharp blade, the mating of handles with hands—man and implement—one, in a labor-love affair. Grass, grain. Clover, or vetch—command of the scythe in harvest of earth’s lush cover. Delight in this, and the beauty of the planets in motion. It was all mine—I knew. Long strokes, thin bite. Draw the tip of the blade right to left, cutting clean, and swing it back so its dull edge re-rights the uncut stand pulled by the previous swing. Pull, backstroke. Pull and back. Clean cut, sharp swath, five foot wide, and back again. Gives more energy then it takes. Stopping only for breaks of admiration and Mom’s lemonade.

The dance of the scythe is a corner of heaven called then by its name on the farm. We called it work. But I knew better. This was love of the dance—the dance of the scythe.


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