Every year it happens: the large brome field surrounding our house gets a great summer cut. The guy who hays our field comes with his tractor, and over the course of an afternoon, the field goes from shoulder-length wild-child grass to a chic crew cut. Then the grass is corralled into long strips so it can be balled up into these massive haybales (about six feet high).
For me, the day of the crew cut feels like a clearing, making space for what comes next even, if it’s just big balls of hall. In a similar way as our April burning of the prairie feels like a rite of passage, so does haying time. The bales, especially in dim light, seem like animals grazing in the freshly-cut field, and the real animals — turkeys and deer mostly — come out to investigate soon after the tractor leaves. The cycle of the farm continually reminds me of change, impermanance, new life. Somewhere a cow will eat this hay on the other side of the seasonal wheel, deep in winter. Right now, the open slate of the field gleams in the 95-degree wind.