Farmers work year-round growing crops with no assurance that price will outweigh cost when the season ends. Baling hay is hard, sweaty, honest work done under the hot sun.
I was driving along one of those two-lane back roads out in the middle of nowhere when I came upon a field of freshly cut hay that had been rolled into round bales and held together with plastic wrap not much different than the plastic wrap in my kitchen.
I knew I had to turn around and get a better look. I drove slowly along the dirt road bordering the field and stopped. A farmer on a four-wheel ATV came toward me while I struggled through weeds nearly as high as my head through the ditch and onto his land.
He arrived as I was standing still composing the shot and asked what I was doing. I explained I wanted a picture of the hay bales. [/two_fifth_last]He tipped his hat and said, “I thought maybe you were looking for choke cherries.”
“No,” I said, “All I want is a photograph.”
“People pay for that?” he asked.
“Yes, they do,” I replied.
He shook his head and said, “That’s crazy, but you go right ahead and take all the pictures you want and help yourself to the choke cherries.” Then he smiled, climbed back on his ATV and drove away laughing.
We are not so different he and I; he didn’t know much about professional photography and I didn’t know anything about choke cherries. Until I looked it up.
It felt good to hear him laugh while times are hard and wholesale prices for milk and meat are low. I wish him and farmers like him well even if he did think I was a bit crazy.