Working the Land

I hate waking up early. I always have. Except maybe when I worked as a farmer and had to get up at 4am.
There’s something weird and unworldly about getting up in the middle of the night. Pitch black outside, no noise. Knowing that most people are sleeping and oblivious to what’s going on in the world.
And there’s the sublime pleasure of watching the sunrise from the seat of a tractor. Looking at rows upon rows of tomatoes or corn or cotton or wheat. A moving picture of nature which changes subtly every day.
I worked on a farm for about three years and I’ve never felt such a close connection with nature neither before nor since.
Not only the changing of the seasons and the crop cycles, but simply working outside for 12-14 hours a day put me in a different world.
It wasn’t easy work though. Apart from the long hours, much of the work was physical; pulling irrigation pipes, connecting water valves and sprinklers, harvesting tomatoes and sweetcorn were only some of the difficult tasks we did.
It helps if you’re working with a great team, and we had the best. Jackie was the irrigation chief. Doobie the mechanic and Ron was the boss. We were the permanent crew and other workers joined us during the more labour-intensive summer and early autumn months.
Looking back, it certainly wasn’t the best-paid job I’ve ever done, but it’s certainly was one of the most satisfying. I learned a lot about working in a team, putting in long hours and solving problems. Most of all, I learned to appreciate the beauty of nature.

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