The cotton harvest has begun. This morning, I saw a row of svelte, cylindrical bales — each wrapped in sleek yellow plastic — outside the gin, and this afternoon they’d been joined by several of the bulky, rectangular kind which sit upon the ground wearing only ill-fitting tarpaulin caps. New and old converging in the gin-yard.
Every year I notice: pleased to see the rows of bales assembling, sorry when they’re gone leaving only a dirty cotton residue on the ground. And, while I wear cotton clothing often enough, these bales have little bearing on my day-to-day life. I wonder why I care?
But I like to watch the progress of things around me: the way they build roads and bridges and storm-drains, the growth of houses from smooth dirt through rough pine frames to the shingles of the ridge-caps and the sod on the muddy yards. And, yes, the crops: corn from pale green sprouts to moldy stubble, with the corn a golden pile beside the barns and silos; cotton to its full green height, the brown-and-white after defoliation, strewn on the roadsides, baled in the gin-yard.
My work is in a world of so many abstractions. I deal with ideas and I deal with people. Ideas can’t be touched; people can’t be built or gathered like houses or corn. The results I get to see aren’t the only results there will be — I hope! — and ways of quantifying the products of teaching only work so far.
Sometimes, I think I care about the cotton because I like to see things reach completion. And while I am an incomplete person, living in the world of incomplete people, I have this confidence: my God cares to complete the work He has begun; I shall not live in the partial forever.
Today I wrote longer than five minutes on Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday prompt: care. Click the button above to visit her site and read more about it!
© 2014 by Stacy Nott