A couple of hours into the drive, I turn down my favorite two lane farm to market road.
My job now takes me into south Texas.
Every month I find myself on this road.
It’s become familiar to me.
Every single time I tell myself to pull over and take pictures to capture the beauty.
But the urge to get to the destination and begin work generally overrules the longing.
Nonetheless, this time, I snap pictures.
I’m unable to capture the spectacular beauty of the bays with small foamy peaks forming in the breeze. I drive over this bridge and breathe more deeply.
But the fields. I capture the fields.
They’re in various stages. My favorite is the fields with mature sorghum, their yellow bushy heads waving as I pass.
Then there are the lush green fields, just beginning to emerge.
The exquisite Monet-inspiring fields of hay pop up every few miles. Those are the fields I know best.
Marring the landscape, in my feeble non-agrarian mind, are the fallow fields interspersed between the beauty.
I’ve lived in farming communities so fallow is not a foreign concept.
Yet I found myself pulled to research it when I returned home. Why, with all the glorious crops these fields could showcase, must they lie there, dirty brown?
I stumbled onto a website called Wonderopolis that has now become my favorite new on-line stop. I can’t wait to explore all the wonders Wonderopolis explores with my imaginative kids.
The wonder of crop rotation (and fallow fields) is one of their many topics of exploration. Wonderopolis shares:
As farmers thousands of years ago learned, several problems begin to creep up when you don’t rotate crops. All of these problems can lead to decreased yields…
The land can become “tired” and less fertile. The same type of crop planted repeatedly in the same area keeps draining the land of the same nutrients needed for that plant’s growth. Certain pests can reach levels that are hard to control when they learn to make a home near a field that always has the same type of crop…
In the past, not planting anything (also called leaving the field fallow) allowed the land to rest and replenish its nutrients.
Why should it be any different for us?
I entered a fallow period.
All I saw was the dirt. The lovely golden fields next to my empty acres.
But it’s the fallow seasons that allow us time to replenish. Increase productivity. Prepare for the fertile seasons ahead.
And then there are the times we are kicking and screaming to avoid lying fallow. Or fighting the need to change the crops we’re planting. Because we know what we know. We’re a species resistant to change.
So we fret and moan about why we’re tired and producing less and being attacked on all sides.
We clutch the walls and cling to the status quo but the status quo has worn us down.
The fallow fields.
The changing crops.
Those beautiful painful things do the same good work in our lives they do in the fields. Wonderopolis says it “battles against the forces of erosion,” “pests are deterred,” “increases productivity,” and “replenishes nutrients.”
I looked on the brown dirt with new eyes. I saw the beauty.
The differences in the fields and the variety of crops they hold showcase fresh beauty.
I am reminded to find the beauty in whatever season I’m in. There’s value in each one.