The Clerk in the Country

Friday 25th September 2020

Safely gathered in

Throughout the summer I’ve been watching the progress of a field of wheat a short walk away and just visible from the back windows of the house.  In the middle of the afternoon of Saturday 12th September a cloud of dust moving steadily back and forth showed that harvesting the crop was underway.  Through binoculars I watched the boom of the big yellow combine swing out and grain cascade into the waiting trailer.  The tractor wheeled round and headed for home while the combine continued its steady progress across the field, cutters revolving.

“My” field was nothing like so extensive, hot or probably – after this year of flood and drought – as productive as the Australian plains which inspired Banjo Patterson’s Song of the Wheat but whoever was at the controls of the combine was doing “great work” nevertheless.

When the burning harvest sun sinks low,
And the shadows stretch on the plain,
The roaring strippers come and go
Like ships on a sea of grain;
Till the lurching, groaning waggons bear
Their tale of the load complete.
Of the world’s great work he has done his share
Who has gathered a crop of wheat.