There is a rather specific and strange calling that I have, and it is studying and appreciating bales of hay arrayed upon farms. How odd, you might say, that I should focus on something so plebeian. But I’ve been drawn to them ever since I first noticed them on my long road trip through South Dakota last August. This past weekend, as I traveled in a wide arc through central-north and north-east Minnesota, I was mesmerized again. It helped that in this part of the state – unlike in the south where corn and soy-beans are the staple – all farms are hay farms. And August is the time that tractors run through the farms and roll the hay up into bales.
Why do I like them? Because they are large and cylindrical, grand-looking, about half my height; there’s also something in the way they are arrayed, something in the symmetry - the light brown of hay going well with the green of the grass, and the tractor trails still fresh. Driving lazily through the deserted back roads of the Fond du Lac reservation near Lake Superior, I came upon a farm with a significant number of these rolled beauties. The perimeter of the farm was lined by clumps of yellow wildflowers, and they added to the prettiness and sense of idyll. I wish I was a better picture-taker; you’ll have to do with these for now. Click on the pictures to fully appreciate - I insist: size matters and there are many details that become evident.
(The second one, I took last year, at a place in South Dakota, a hamlet really, with a double digit population.)
A peripheral fact: the roof of a gas station - opposite which I found the farm this year - had this long name, not unlike my own: Nahgahchiwanong Adaawewigamig. This is the Chippewa Indian word that translates roughly to Fond du Lac store - the actual store, not in the picture, is to the right.