we work the field, pressing seeds into the damp spaces that the dripline has left. it is sometime after noon, probably - we haven't stopped for lunch yet, and nobody knows for sure, but the sun is high. each field is split into 24 plots, and we each get two or three to plant. in field five, i have a watermelon-sunflower-amaranth plot, a watermelon-tepary bean plot, and a control, for which i am grateful because it doesn't need planting. in field seven, i have a bean plot, a bean-corn plot, and a bean-squash plot. we staked our driplines wrong this morning, so the first row of plots is one line short; mine end up being two lines long. nonetheless, after a half-hour or so, one find a rhythm in planting, and the squashes are placed at every other emitter, so they go fast. soon, we are in a trance - the world wavers, heat-shimmers, and contracts to the weight of the beans in your pocket, the feel of damp earth, the dust in your eyes, the sun on your back, the sweat. my fingers learn to pick out three beans at a time, which is how many go into the ground at once. same with corn, four, and melon and squash seeds, two. twice i plant a row into the next plot's boundary and have to go back, carefully digging them up back to where they are supposed to be. i sing them into the soil: little beans go in the ground, grow up tall to feed us all, grow up tall little beans, little beans next to the corn, i hope you like it where it's warm...
. if you've heard my mother singing, or heard me humming when i'm happy, you can imagine how the song goes.
someone decides the little damp spots are too hard to find, and walks to the corner of the field to turn the pipe on. we all stand up when the water rushes through: even confined to plastic tape, even on a farm in spring, the sound of water in the desert necessitates a pause. then, on top of the irrigation-line sound, there is a sound of water, truly - one of the lines has broken, and it gushes freely, ripping through the dirt. those of us nearby walk towards it, instead of towards the spigot. we put our feet in the water, our hands. it is like waking from a dream.
these days, the first thing i do when i get home is shower, because the dust is everywhere all over me. i find little piles of dirt in unexpected places: in the middle of the kitchen floor, beneath my couch, beside the toilet, next to my bed. anywhere i take of clothing, or shoes, or where i drop my hat when i come in. dust in my ears and gritty between my teeth, between my toes and tangled in my hair. the second thing i do when i get home is eat, because working eight or nine hours in the sun is hungry work. it'll be something miraculous when we can eat that work, too.