Day 32: Wayne’s Journal Entry 3: Baling Hay

Day 32: Wayne’s Journal Entry 3: Baling Hay

I have a job. I have to laugh. I am a hay baler. Arjun assured me it wasn’t a joke, a play on my name, as if he was worried he’d offended me. I thought that was pretty funny, since Bailey is an English name and not etymologically related to baling or bales of hay, but to an Old French word, “bailli” and “bailiff,” an officer of the court —a term still used in the States. A bailey was also the courtyard of a castle — take your pick. I think they’re all related through Latin.

Baling hay is another matter. This is a great job. I love it doing it. I used to spend a lot of time outdoors when I was growing up. Mom made sure of that. We grew our own food on the commune. Really good food. Fresh food. I never thought about it after I left the commune, how much I missed fresh tomatoes, plucked from the plant and eaten in the field. Now that I think of it, food at the Bailey’s was pretty bland. I wanted bland at the time, and bland became my style of food. And clothes, and everything else. I love the Baileys to this day, but they were bland. And I became bland. They were solid, and I became solid. We were pillars, we Baileys — unmoving, unblinking pillars. Solid. But growing things is another kind of solid, the way dirt is solid but living.

I’m getting a bit of a tan. It’s harvest time for the hay. The baler is an antique, and the tractor is an antique, shared by several area farms, who use horses for most of the rest of their farming needs. When speed matters, like getting the hay harvested and baled, the farmers take turns harvesting and baling each other’s hay. The same system apparently works for other crops. I don’t know much about farming per se. What the commune did was truck farming. So when the regular farmers got into discussions about monoculture and sustainability and all of that, I just tuned them out and got into the Zen of the work. My body loved it.

As the sun warmed the day, some of the crew shed clothing like Greek athletes and spent the heat of the day working nude. When we were finished baling, we all showered and dressed for an amazing meal. I was a bit sore at the end of the first few days, but it felt good. Harvest was over too soon.

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