They’d just got the big field cut when they were called away. My dad and my brothers headed off to town one Tuesday morning, in the early, misty morning. They were just going to a meeting, they said, but they didn’t come back. By Saturday the corn was dry, and the men still gone. We hadn’t heard anything. Our nearest neighbour came over on Sunday, and told us her husband and nephew had gone, too. Not a man left over 14 and under 70 anywhere from here to Plymouth, that’s what she told us, before she headed back the couple of miles to her own place.
Mam rolled up her sleeves, then, and headed out to the field, taking me with her. We spent the afternoon raking and piling up the dried stalks of corn, ready to load them onto the cart. It was hot and dusty, and we didn’t talk much. Mam looked out over the hay meadow and shook her head. That needed cutting, too, and drying. Losing a week’s work at this time of year was disastrous.
When we went back to load up on Monday, we found the hay had been cut. Someone had been in there overnight. There was a strange shadow lying across the field, which wafted away as we approached. On Tuesday the hay was ricked up, drying nicely in the sun. Thursday morning, it was piled in a great stack in the corner of the meadow. The shadow was there again, running up the field ahead of us, seeming to float up into the blue sky.
“Thank you”, Mam shouted, seeing no harm in it. There was no reply.
This is for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto challenge.