LAKE MACBRIDE— Combines are in the field, just beginning the corn harvest. There are a lot of brown corn plants standing in the field… another sign that winter is coming. The Farm Journal reported that 11 days ago, so this is not news. It is just that to read something in the media is one thing, and to see life actually unfolding is quite another.
There is a lot to write about from the farm, and then again, there isn’t. Working on a vegetable farm has been a rich experience. It has been a month since I began working most weekdays, and it is physically and mentally rewarding work. There is an endless succession of visitors and workers to the farm, and always something going on in the neighborhood. On Thursdays I deliver directly to our customers in North Liberty. When we talk about farm to market, there is no middleman and they see the face of the farmer as it is with soil from the field stuck to my clothes.
Last night I dreamed about where we spent my preschool years. The Clifton Hill area of Davenport has not changed much since the early 1950s when our family lived there. It is a scrappy neighborhood where people don’t spend a lot on education, and spend more disposable income on tobacco products than anything according to one survey. The crime rate is high compared to the national average, with rape and assault being the most frequent. On the plus side, the number of murders scores below the national average.
Clifton Hills is a blue collar neighborhood, but since the time we lived there, the blue collar jobs fled the Quad Cities, and 65 percent of those employed are now white collar workers. It is past time when the type of work is designated by the color of shirt a worker wears, as it is a meaningless appellation.
The home where I grew up sold for $58,000 in 2010 according to the assessor’s office. Visually, it hasn’t changed much, and in dreams and memories my recollections of life there are clear. Why I would remember last night’s dream of the old neighborhood, when my life is so different, is hard to understand. Nor is it important to remember. I accept the origins of my life in society. It’s just another thing in the cycles of time. Not unlike the corn harvest, it comes on schedule when conditions are right.