The Work of His Hands

It is fall, and in the mornings now we run in the dark. I am beginning to see pinpoints of sky among the sycamore trees, and that wonderful smell of leaves giving themselves back to the dust from which they came is just starting to make its presence known…only a subtle whiff, as yet, but the promise is there.

It is the time of year when, up at the farm, the combine sits in front of the shop for its pre-marathon physical. The time when all the richness of nature hurls forth one final, all-consuming burst of energy in a blaze of fire. Verdant bean fields morph into a rainbow of red, orange and yellow. Sweet corn spends its last morsels of gold and slumps over in a gray-brown mess, its job complete. The whisper of leaves in the breeze turns to a crackle underfoot.

For a farmer, it is the fulfillment of the year’s work. “You have crowned the year with your goodness,” as Ps. 65 says. It is my favorite time of year, and full of the most vivid memories of life on the farm. I remember taking lunch and supper to the field. Lines of trucks waiting to dump at the grain elevator. The overwhelming roar of the grain dryer, and the ghostly roar of the combine crawling back and forth in the darkness, its lights little more than pinpricks, viewed from the house. The sweetish smell of corn chaff teasing the nose, covering everything in pink…the ear-splitting treble as the grain began to fill the auger.

Although I no longer live by the rhythms of the farm year, as I did when I was a child, the awareness of what lies outside the city is a constant part of my consciousness. At this time of the year, when the gaudy beach ball colors of summer give way to the mustard-yellow of school buses, I feel the richness of life more than at any other time. The promise of childhood and the bounty of summer culminate in the harvest.

And this is the time of year when I appreciate my dad the most.

The Work of His Hands
K. Basi

He tills the land, plants the seed
And he watches the green fields
Grow tall as the seasons pass over the land
And he works, and he prays
At the end of each day
That the Lord will bless the work of his hands. 

He is strong, he is proud
But he melts at the sound
Of his two-year-old grandbaby’s beautiful laugh
And he looks at his family
Now grown, and he asks
That the Lord will bless the work of his hands. 

From the dark of the womb
To the sweet golden rain
Of the final harvest,
He knows that the Lord
Is the force that moves his life.

When his work is complete
And he offers the Keeper
Of Heaven and Earth the best that he has,
May the fruit of his labor
Then lead the Creator
To bless this man for the work of his hands.

Dad and Julianna, at Nicholas's baptism 4/26/09
Dad and Julianna, at Nicholas's baptism 4/26/09