an October harvest

One spring I planted corn too early in a bottomland so flood-prone thatneighbors laughed. I felt chagrined at the wasted effort. Summer turned brutal– the worst heat wave and drought in my lifetime. The air-conditioner died,the well went dry, the marriage ended, the job lost, the money gone. I wasliving lyrics from a country tune — music I loathed. Only a surging Kansas City Royals team, bound for their first World Series, buoyed my spirits.

Looking back on that horrible summer, I soon understood that all succeeding good things merely offset the bad. Worse than normal wouldn’t last long. I am owed and savor the halcyon times. They reinvigorate me for the next nasty surprise and offer assurance that I can thrive. The 50 percent theory even helps me see hope beyond my Royals’ recent slump, a field of struggling rookies sown so that some year soon we can reap an October harvest.

Oh, yeah, the corn crop? For that one blistering summer, the ground moisture was just right, planting early allowed pollination before heat,withered the tops, and the lack of rain spared the standing corn from floods. That winter my crib overflowed with corn — fat, healthy three-to-a-stalk ears filled with kernels from heel to tip — while my neighbors’ fields yielded only brown, empty husks.