Colder in the old days, we lit smudge pots—
met New Year’s Eve with the all-night roar
of wind machines to stir the air, save

an orange crop bound by sentries, plumes
of flame down every road and dirt avenue—
starlight twinkling madly in a black sky.

Up on the hour to check the temperature,
Dad slept on the wood floor by the fire—
wool sweater, reek of diesel, ready to rise

while we dreamed of what we missed
in the country—like Mom’s new dress,
the festivities and friends in Visalia.

She learned not to cry, let disappointment
spill so easily, especially onto others—
a farmer’s daughter, a farmer’s wife.

                                                            for Mom


14 responses to “AFTER THE SOLSTICE

  1. Peter Notehelfer

    Remarkable how the memory holds treasures: it’s said each time we remember a chapter of our lives we edit it slightly . . . Better to make poetry of it, I’d say . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John: This conjures memories of at least 50 Christmas or New Years eves.

    We don’t send as much carbon into the sky as we did in times past. But, we still lose sleep, drink a lot of coffee, reek of diesel fuel, and sleep on the floor by the fire.

    Technology now provides armchair connections to the real-time meteorology intelligence we need for making resource conserving decisions. And, we get nightly chronicling of how the “Orange Belt” is being re-defined to its historical limits.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Things consumers never think about. There are so many.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think farmers’ wives still learn how to hide their feelings and we all edit our memories. I certainly agree with that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Laurie Schwaller

    A really good one to start off the new year, John, bringing the old days into the present, as sharp and clear as if they were only yesterday, but timeless in their themes.

    Looking forward to another year of getting share the world on Dry Creek.

    Thanks for getting up so early every day to send us the news that stays news. Not to mention the photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When apple and cherry orchards freeze during blossom time we loose a year’s crop but the following year is a bumper crop from the trees’ ‘rest’. Isn’t it a longer recovery time for oranges?


    • With citrus, you can freeze the crop or sometimes freeze the tree. Losing a crop doesn’t necessarily impact next year’s crop, however freezing the tree itself may impact production for several years, depending on severity.


  7. And I meant to say very nice homage for your mom.


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