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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