The final swathes of straw are being baled. The baler throbs round the field in a haze of dust occasionally belching out a hefty block from its back end. There’s a heat haze rippling the warm September horizon. And a bunch of rooks watching and waiting for a chance to pop down for pickings when the machinery has gone.
I’m waiting also.
Waiting for him to go because the stubble field has been a bit of a tasty workplace since this recent weather spell. I sit in its warm and stretchy vistas and scribble notes that never occurred to me indoors, in front of a screen.
And the other evening Charley and I wandered out there as sun set and moon rose and hauled ourselves – after several undignified attempts and much giggling – onto the top of a bale to sit and watch the evening settle.
It took a while. Our unceremonious and noisy scrabblings had pretty much frightened everything away.
She has enjoyed bales all her childhood, as did I, although we had the small bales to play on that could be lifted and arranged into proper hidey-holes. But she and friends could just about roll one of the big ones together to make their dens, until the farmer comes and they scurry away like field mice.
“I’m sorry” I said to the farmer on one occasion. “The children have been playing on the bales again.”
“Don’t worry about it, they do no ‘arm. And it’s great to see them outside, too many are stuck indoors these days,” he said. “They miss out on all the fun we ‘ad”.
Seems I wasn’t the only one thinking that!
So I take that as permission for me to go play too. A September delight, all too soon over as the bales are collected and the paling stubble is turned back to dark wintry earth again.
But before that, while we still can, Charley and I will go sit under the moon after our respective working days and share a moment steeped in childhood tradition.
And later there’ll be that familiar litter of straw on the bathroom floor I recognise from my own corn days.
I try not to scold like my mother. After all, I probably contributed to it!