Cackling Chickens

The wind was picking up for a second time on the farm Thursday, blowing cold against my skin and lighting the flame of hope inside of me. Matt called over the rippling sound of the air to let me know that rain was coming, and sure enough, when I looked up at the hazy, grey sky, I saw a line of pouring rain across the field barreling straight towards where we were picking bunches of chard.

I had forgotten my raincoat, so I shivered as the rain soaked me to the core, drenching my back in a matter of seconds. My knife slipped in my wet hands as I tried to cut the leafy green stalks of chard, but I was smiling in pure glee, the feeling of contentment growing inside of me. There was something completely freeing about getting drenched from head to toe in fresh, freezing rainwater on the farm.

Later, I asked Daddy as he made a sample of Hopi Red Amaranth for Kazami and I to pick, if he was happy with all of the rain showers that had happened this week. Daddy just shook his head in wonder and said, “I checked the rain gage and it said nine-tenths of an inch from just today’s rain. I just can’t believe it!”

When it had rained on Saturday afternoon, when he was coming home from the market, Daddy had said that we did not have to irrigate that night. But more rain came on Wednesday, and now, we would make it through a whole week without moving drip tape lines. We had been irrigating nonstop ever since I came home for the summer, so not having to worry about finding header lines or dragging out hoses seems strange.

Kazami had sustained the soaking from the storm, as well, but like me, had enjoyed it immensely. He was in such a good mood while bunching amaranth with me that he was singing to himself and giggling at his own puns. I could not help but think about how both of my sweet, handsome, dependable brothers were leaving the farm soon. Asa was going back to school for his final year of undergrad the following Monday, and Kazami was tagging along to visit the University of Alabama to see if he would like to attend that college. Days before I would leave on a flight to Hawai’i to work as a research assistant to one of my most favorite professors at Northwestern, Kazami would leave the house to go back to boarding school for his final year, as well. Summer on the farm was coming to a close too soon.

But Kazami’s laughter never fails to make me chuckle, as well, so I found myself in a fit of giggles while finishing out the last of the amaranth and all the way home to the shed. When I got out of the red truck, Asa told me, “Your laughter sounds like the cackle of a scared chicken.” Confused, I thought he had said that the sound of my laughter had scared the chickens, which was both upsetting and sort of amazing that it had been that loud. When I explained this to my brothers, they erupted into laughter. I did, too, and wondered if this time, the chickens had heard.

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