The sounds of summer

I have a hammock, or rather, my mother’s hammock. We bought it as a Mother’s Day gift about seven or eight years ago. It is something she has never used. Thus I sate again, I have a hammock on the farm in which I swing and ponder life, imagining taking various paths and the outcomes to which they may lead.

A friend and I put it up this Mother’s Day in a snow flurry. He hungover, me cheerful. He doing all the work and me doing all the pointing – it is a finely honed division of labor.

I love my hammock. I have perfected the positioning of my body in order to achieve near constant rocking. With my eyes closed I feel as if I am flying. If I open them though, and look straight up, I can see a canopy of maple leaves intertwined and layered so that they are not just green, but in fact thousands of shades of green.

My favorite thing to do is to rock with my eyes closed and listen to the activity of the farm all around me. There is a whine from the hay elevator as it transports bales from the wagon to the mount. A whine that winds down and is replaced by the rumble of my brother’s tractor as he heads back to the field for another load. The rumble fades away as he drives behind the barn and I can hear the rustle of leaves overhead brushing into one another in an audible caress.

A crow caws in the distance as if signaling the second coming of my brother, now driving along the rutted and dusty path up to the fields. The chain that hangs between the tractor and baler wagon jingles in a disjointed rhythm with every stone or divot it passes over.

My father, in another tractor, circles to the lower end of a hayfield down by my brother’s house. The baler that he pulls swallows a line of hay and discharges a cube in its wake. The arm of the baler makes a thunk-a, thunk-a, thunk-a noise that reminds me of a cartoon character.

I can hear my mother clanking around in the kitchen doing dishes in the sink. It is getting late in the afternoon and as she heads to the barn for milking, I head inside to start dinner, finish cleaning and say goodbye to a summer afternoon.

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