Peterson: Onset of winter, decay is part of growth, rebirth

Ryan Peterson

Winter is settling across the country, and with it the lush green farms of the Midwest have turned into a dreary brown decay. Northern winds chill through empty fields, the sun no longer warms cool mornings and the days have grown darker. Our productive machines are parked in winter storage and farmers have withdrawn into their homes, turning the land into an empty tundra. I remember another time, when we had industry and production, when our lands were still lush, green and fruitful.

As a child on a sod farm, I witnessed industry, growth and production. It was during a different season, one filled with fond morning memories, now so cold and dark, but once full of hope and warmth. The sun gave life and breath to the fields; crops reached up toward the light and seemed to grow endlessly.

Those mornings’ progress seemed unstoppable. Activity rose and fell with the sun; it not only gave power and production to every crop, but it energized every form of life. In the morning, I was in awe of nature’s orchestras, artists and cultures. We conserved the greater forces around us and admitted power of authority. Everything was commanded by the laws of nature and the rising sun.

Plants rose up, following the ascending star ever higher. As its rays became more powerful, their growth became more driven. Farmers actually had to thin their crops to keep productive plants from shading out one another. They tended to each field individually, protecting them from each other, keeping intruders out and encouraging their growth.

Farmers were free to use the greatest machines and tools to troll through the fields, fertilizing the land to help the plants grow. We were still concerned about the aggregate growth of the fields as well as achieving the greatest from each individual stalk. Farmers headed the greatest tools of industry and were trusted to peruse the aggregate interest of their fields. They steered straight and ensured the survival and production of all the various crops.

A single plant had the power to produce unprecedented amounts, and together the fields were never more fruitful. However, these days, not a single stalk is allowed to produce, and with restrained stalks there’s little harvest. In the warm summers past, nothing was in need; the farmers were allowed to work and nature was free to ensure growth. Individually, each plant grew greatly, and together there was an immense abundance.

I witnessed the nutriment of the land. The fields were in constant growth and crops demanded constant care. Without attention, weeds would invade, fields would overgrow and droughts would deprive the land. In this season, a winter drought has set in.

Without the sun to warm the water locked in ice, there’s no stream to drink from. The land is locked in a cold frost, rending tillers and planters unable to penetrate the hardened soil. The vital life sustaining resources are frozen under tundra, preventing both the stalks and the farmers from accessing them. No tools retain any effect. Without the sun, there can be no growth, and if farmers are locked indoors, there can be no production.

Without good farmers in the fields, good plants are susceptible to weeds, especially in poor conditions. As the productive crops have perished, weeds have invaded and overgrown. Weeds don’t operate like normal plants; they don’t need the warmth of the sun nor abide the same laws of nature. Unlike civilized crops, they prosper in the worst conditions.

They prosper when the land is dead and parched. They feed on the death of plans and immobilize the farmers; they clog the wheels and jam the machines. They perpetuate the problems of production we face in this particular winter. Productive crops grow and create industry; weeds strangle life and deprave the land.

The green future is decaying in the winter winds. The fields are barren without farmers to tend to them. The machines are broken and the cold weather keeps us indoors and out of the fields. However, we’ve waited in bleaker winters, and nature has always taken her course.

Weeds will die and decay, leaving fresh compost and fertility. As the sun sets, it will eventually rise and warm the fields of production. As it always has, water will again flow, and with it the fields will see another green day. While the farmers wait, nature is correcting herself and preparing for another season. Although some seasons are longer and colder than others, overtime growth will always return.