I passed him again this morning, on my way to work. My car rounded the sharp bend in the road where his farm sits. He was hitching up his big work horse to the wagon in the already stifling morning heat. He paused to look up at my passing car.
He’s not Amish, but he dresses plainly, wears a straw hat and works his fields with a team of horses. Drives an ancient Chevy Chevette that looks like it’s been through more than one battle.
How long has he farmed this land? How many times has he hitched up a team? How many cars has he seen pass by?
He is old, knarled and stooped, but still he works.
I have seen him many times, driving his team, or stopped by the side of the road to chop up a fallen tree, or easing back onto the big wagon after opening the farm gate. He looks and waves, but does not smile. Simply gets on with the business of farming.
I’ve seen his wife, too – also old and stooped, working in the vegetable garden in front of the trim white farmhouse. She tends the neat rows of vegetables, dotted with flashes of color: gladiolus, planted there for sheer happiness.
How long will this place be here, in the bend of the road? Will a son or daughter take over when these two are gone? How long will my little girl be able to say, “Stop the car, mom!” so we can watch their flock of geese, swimming in the little pond by the springhouse?
Will their life, and their ways, survive?