Monday, June 11, 2012

On the Way to Work

Now for some nature that's not so red in tooth and claw. I love passing this field on the way to work. Last year or maybe year before last I kept meaning to get a picture of the field, but one day, it turned suddenly brown. It's hard to get a very good picture because these aren't tall or big sunflowers and the field is pretty far away from any place where you can park.

Sunflowers always make me think of the song that Pa Ingalls used to sing in The Long Winter when there were blizzards for seven months
Laura woke up suddenly. She heard singing and a queer slapping sound.
     "Oh, I am as happy as a big sunflower (Slap! Slap)/That nods and bends in the breezes, Oh! (Slap! Slap!)/And my heart (Slap!) is as light (Slap!) as the wind that blows (Slap! Slap!)/The leaves from off of the treeses, Oh! (Slap! SLAP!) "    
Pa was singing his trouble song and slapping his arms on his chest.
Laura's nose was cold. Only her nose was outside the quilts that she was huddled under. She put out her whole head and then she knew why Pa was slapping himself. He was trying to warm his hands. 
 You can hear the melody (sort of) here if you scroll down a bit.


1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure I want to listen to the actual tune, since I've been making up my own for years.

    I love The Long Winter -- it's my favorite of the Little House books, though obviously not in the heartwarming-happy-family way. Every time I reread it, which I've done about every other year for the last . . . fifteen, maybe . . . I'm struck again by things like already not having any food, and then hearing that the train won't get through for months. We went through periods of being broke and not anticipating a paycheck for three months (thank you, adjunct life), but we always had food . . . I'm always amazed not only at the ingenuity and determination of the Ingalls, but by the sense of sheer miracle of it all. They really should have died. Lots of people did die in that same South Dakota winter. And yet they didn't. They saw the spring come (the ending of that book always makes me tear up: what it means on so many levels that it's spring).

    And I try to imagine living for months on brown bread and tea . . .