You’ll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You’ll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in the fields of gold.
— From Fields of Gold, by Sting
The winter was cold, white and endless. The spring brought rain, but July brought shivery days and chilly nights. August, though, was a gift.
In northwestern Saskatchewan, where my heart lies (geographically speaking) among the lakes and forests and northern farmland, awaiting the harvest has never been for the weak of spirit. The weather is, to say the least, undependable — even more so than most farming regions.
The storms can be spectacular, and long; thunderstorms sometimes last all night. The days can be cooler, and too soon, shorter.
Yet Mother Nature also smiled on this beautiful place, scattered seeds for pine and spruce and aspen and birch, poured joy into sparkling lakes and streams and also managed to breathe a few nutrients into the sandy soil.
There was a particular field of barley. One day, it was green — dense and hairy, but green. It was a field of doubt; would this harvest happen?
We returned, seven days later, to the field of barley. They were seven days of sun, a little wind, a little rain, and one big sky-shattering lightning storm that boomed all night; but there was no hail, no frost.
Seven days later, green had turned to gold. It wasn’t yet uniform, but it was undoubtedly, indisputably, golden.
In those last days, Mother Nature had smiled again, bringing the hazy heat, the gentle winds, the sense of fulfillment that comes with summer’s end. It was almost harvest time.
May all your fields be golden, like our field of barley.
j j j j
If you drive by The Western Producer’s head office in Saskatoon, you will see an enormous realtor’s sign on our lawn. That sign relates only to the building, and not this newspaper. The Producer’s parent company, Glacier Media, is selling some building assets and entering into lease-back for the space. For The WP, it is business as usual.