Friday, May 14, 2010


Sabbath eve, May 14, 2010.

It’s raining lightly outdoors right now at an opportune time for those of us that are South Texas farmers. Corn is beginning to tassel out and the ground is getting dry. A couple of inches of rain now radically increases our chances of making a crop. We just finished cutting and baling hay; rain will also get grass growing again and keep pastures full of cattle for a time.

For whatever reason, I spent most of the week in a funk, annoyed by the simplest of things. Yesterday, I had a couple of reminders that it could be worse.

I called a friend to learn that his wife of 14 years decided, for no apparent reason, to divorce him. There’s been no infidelity on his part. He’s baffled, distraught, lost, trying to figure out what happened but she’s not communicating. He just showed up last Friday after work and she told him to pack a few belongings and leave. It was uncomfortable as hell to listen to this. What can you say?

One of our farm hands spotted a pickup under a bridge while moving a tractor from one farm to the other Tuesday. He noticed the pickup was still there Thursday morning, once again from the seat of a tractor, hugging the rail of the narrow bridge. Late Thursday evening he and two more hands decided to stop and investigate as they came home from a day’s work. He yelled down from the bridge in Spanish, his native language. A weak voice replied, “Call 911.”

My hands scrambled down the side of a steep embankment to find a man in his early twenties lying on the ground, broken and unable to move but conscious after running off the road, hitting a pylon under the bridge and passing through the windshield of his pickup. The skin of his forehead was split open and peeled back, the blood dry, flesh and bone exposed. His shoulder and at least one leg were broken. He’d had been there since Monday evening with no food or water. I don’t know how much longer he would have lasted had not my brown skinned friend come along.

I myself passed over this scene no less than ten times during this period, probably consumed with some bull shit problem and never saw or heard a thing.

What’s the moral to this story? I don’t know. It is what it is. It could be worse.

Walt Wilkins sums up my present mood.

Edit: It's almost 4 am and I'm up. Light rains have turned into heavy rains. We're now under a flood watch. Martin turned our cattle into the bottom where we just finished cutting hay to clean up grass alongside the river bank we can't access with our equipment. I hope they don't all get swept down the river.

That bridge where the young man laid is under water.

In this world, things can turn on a dime.

Sometimes there's reason for a sense of foreboding. And sometimes not.

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