Saturday, July 16, 2011

Money on a Sunday

Sunday. Yet another day of toil. But that is the nature of farming, for there are no days off during the growing season. The bright side of the picture was that it was rather cool, that is, in comparison to last week, as well as other years, where we were dropped abruptly into the heat of summer with no remission until fall.

But that is not the point of this entry. Apparently, “Money” is, but it is probably not the money you may be thinking about. No, and indeed, it is a “Money” I never like to think about, not that I like to think about any type of “money” in general at any time, but I digress.

So, the scene, it was after noon, the sun was bright, but not overbearing and the humidity was mildly felt. It was an… idyllic spring day in early June. The task allotted to myself was cultivating and weeding, then irrigating Field 1, which is a rather shaded area in which the last spring spinach, lettuce and broccoli are planted. There is nothing new to this, although the native creatures were in full force as I toiled away.

One thing that has struck me in particular this year has been the increased number of brown thrashers on the farm. I see them all over the back side of the property, and, even up on the top of the ridge by the greenhouses. I take that as a good sign. Birds to me are a boon for the farm, for they love to devour all of those nefarious critters that love to devour my vegetables. Anyway, as soon as I started to cultivate Row 1 of Field 1, that is, the spinach, two frolicking and, no doubt, frisky brown thrashers darted from deer fence barrier to deer fence barrier, seemingly oblivious to my own activity. Could it be that this new generation is becoming accustomed to my activity? Could it be that they no longer fear me? Oh, that would be a great thing.

My activity continued. Branches rustled, and leaves fell from the towering Sycamore, most assuredly one of the tallest in the state at this point, but that, of course is another digression. I could not see what caused the rustle behind those wide and densely spaced leaves, but that activity fled up the ridge to a mulberry tree, and remained concealed by the foliage.

Catbirds were darting about behind, beside, above and all around. They are definitely aware of my presence, and are not startled in the least by my activity. In a very strange way, the stress of the lack of rain over the last couple of weeks dissipated with the vigorous activity of those birds seeking to produce their next generation.

And then… it started. An unfamiliar sound arose from one of the neighboring human vestiges. At first, I thought it was a passing car with a loud radio. But, the sound continued… And, at least to my own ears, it was not pleasant. What was that sound? I knew that answer concretely after it repeated itself… It was a band playing outdoors at a very nearby human residence.

Now, I am quite familiar with such a scene as a band playing outdoors, in fact, I was in such a situation many times many years ago. But unlike the tweets of birds and chirps of chipmunks, human attempts at releasing “songs” tend to require amplification these days. And while my own band performances in the past must have annoyed quite a few creatures on the planet, that is, other than those humans in attendance who had to endure that noise in those ancient days, I did not comprehend anything outside of my own “box”, if you will.

On Sunday, however, I did. The catbirds and brown thrashers did not hesitate for a moment. But my ears, well, they picked up that aberrant sound immediately. Again, I am familiar with the situation. Was it a wedding party up over yonder? Was it just a release party? It does not matter. I do admit, that the sounds of the instruments were, as those in the profession say, tight. The bass was succinct and in time with the drums and the guitar played appropriately. But, what always happens when hearing such an ensemble at a distance, the vocals sound as though they were being sung through a bottle. I have been there, I know how it goes. But the main difference, and in my own defense for playing electrified music outdoors on a beautiful spring day, my band played original music!

Somehow I seem to have traipsed off into a realm of justification over my own youthful activity almost two decades ago. I will cease and desist on that matter. The point is, that band’s music was disrupting my thoughts as I weeded the spinach in Row 1 of Field 1. One of the reasons why I farm is that the outside influence of noise and bothersomeness of general human activity does not infiltrate my mind flow. As is quite obvious to the reader, my mind flow was quite adamantly interrupted by those sounds originating up over yonder.

But then, something really awful happened, and this is where the “money” part of the title enters in to the situation. The first few songs were indiscernible as to what song they were attempting to play. Perhaps I simply have never heard those songs, but the genre was definitely the 80s. I was alive in the 80s, very much alive. And much of the music heard on the radio in those pre-CD days was unbearable for me to listen to. Many, many “artists” made me cringe as I was forced to endure their awful songs, say while working in a supermarket. And one of those “artists” owned a stage name of Eddie… Money.

After bearing through the wedding style music scheme, once a cover of Eddie Money was played, that was it… I could take no more! For sure there are many other superficial “musicians” that could annoy my day, but for some reason, Mr. Mahoney, that is, Mr. Money as he is known on stage, was completely disconcerting. Did I ask for that? In any fashion, did I DESERVE to be subjected to a wedding cover band playing an Eddie Money song on such an idyllic Sunday afternoon?

But who am I? What importance do I hold in the general scheme of things? My compadres, that is, the catbirds and brown thrashers didn’t seem to mind that awful audible intrusion. Oh, settle down, farm boy. There are many worse things to be concerned about…

I could take no more. I left the row of spinach and traveled further away from that awful sound, but alas! The valley in which the fields lie sucked in that neighboring sound like a black hole, no matter how far from the origin. THERE IS WORK TO BE DONE! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, JUST BE QUIET!!!

And then, AND THEN, as if on cue, the neighbor on the other side decided to mow his grass fields for haying! I never thought that that constant rumble of his diesel tractor for hours on end, along with the steady slicing sound of his mower would be a positive sound. And yet it was! No more vocals from a bottle. No more cheesy songs from thirty years ago. And no more Eddie Money! No more Money on a Sunday!!!

(All apologies to those who find Ed Mahoney’s music enjoyable…)

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