As I write this, it is has been hot, dry and without rain for over two weeks and I’ve been working in the middle of a cornfield for most of it. The temps have been in the 80’s daily and the nights in the mid-60’s, a kind of heat that you can still feel as you are sleeping. And it has been dry, a dust that is supposed to be soil, is kicked up by any movement and covers vehicles, plants, boots, myself… So hot and so dry, that it brings me back of my millet and grain sorghum days in Niger, West Africa, in fact it is so reminiscent that I find myself hearing the Islamic call to prayer ringing as clearly in my ears as I would hear it there. I hear it in the morning sometimes waking me before the birds do, I hear it during the heat of the day, in the midafternoon, at sunset and at night when I lay down to rest. “Allah u Akbar, Allah u Akbar…” It is slightly haunting and eerie how clearly I can hear that call and how much this weather now reminds me of living in the desert and working those desert fields filled with millet, sesame, and grain sorghum. It is dry, I am covered in a thin layer of dust and pollen, the corn plants are starting to look cactus-like, all spikey and curled upon themselves; I hear that familiar call to prayer and at times feel transported to another continent only to look up and find myself instead, in a very familiar field.

It is interesting how something as simple as weather can bring you back to another time and place. As I sit down again, we have been blessed with rain. We were fortunate to have a half an inch of rain yesterday, the plants are starting to recover and have unrolled their leaves, there was even a little mud on my boots, and I am once again firmly planted in the Midwest.

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At the intersection of food, soil, climate, farming and water.

Call to Prayer

As I write this, it is has been hot, dry and without rain for over two weeks and I’ve been working in the middle of a cornfield for most of it. The temps have been in the 80’s daily and the nights in the mid-60’s, a kind of heat that you can still feel as you are sleeping. And it has been dry, a dust that is supposed to be soil, is kicked up by any movement and covers vehicles, plants, boots, myself… So hot and so dry, that it brings me back of my millet and grain sorghum days in Niger, West Africa, in fact it is so reminiscent that I find myself hearing the Islamic call to prayer ringing as clearly in my ears as I would hear it there. I hear it in the morning sometimes waking me before the birds do, I hear it during the heat of the day, in the midafternoon, at sunset and at night when I lay down to rest. “Allah u Akbar, Allah u Akbar…” It is slightly haunting and eerie how clearly I can hear that call and how much this weather now reminds me of living in the desert and working those desert fields filled with millet, sesame, and grain sorghum. It is dry, I am covered in a thin layer of dust and pollen, the corn plants are starting to look cactus-like, all spikey and curled upon themselves; I hear that familiar call to prayer and at times feel transported to another continent only to look up and find myself instead, in a very familiar field.

It is interesting how something as simple as weather can bring you back to another time and place. As I sit down again, we have been blessed with rain. We were fortunate to have a half an inch of rain yesterday, the plants are starting to recover and have unrolled their leaves, there was even a little mud on my boots, and I am once again firmly planted in the Midwest.

popcorn cartoon