Sunday, September 19, 2010

Requiem for Number 7

Purchased on the courthouse steps during the first Great Depression,
You were named for your number on the list of foreclosures.
Your fertile soil and plentiful water yielded cherries, pears and persimmons,
And your family made a living.

Your family, in one way or another, owned you for more than 60 years.
After your orchards declined, you produced grass and hay
For draft horses and Angus cows and the occasional grass-fed steer.
And your family made a living.

Near the end of the century, you were sold to another family,
And another chapter in your life as a farm began.
For awhile you still produced grass, but your soil became dirt –
Dirt to be graded and paved over for houses.

By the time I met you, you’d been cut into pieces.
Your new family saw the land as a toy and as an “asset.”
You were no longer a farm – you were real estate –
And parts of you were sold off or returned to the bank.

I only knew your entirety for two years –
For two years your soil and water grew grass and lamb and beef.
We sheared our sheep in your barns and
Fed hay in your fields when it snowed.

I miss the coolness along your creek after a hot summer’s day.
I miss the walks up and down your hills to move pipe.
I miss watching my dogs gather sheep in your fields,
And I miss eating cherries in the springtime and your pears in the fall.

You were a gift – your soil fed a community.
But our community’s relationship with the land changed.
Soil became dirt, farms became houses.
And we’re all poorer for the change.

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