Slash-and-Burn

You hadn’t been out to the family’s corn fields in years. Now, while it’s burning, you decide to drive out to see one. You know Daddy will be out there, watching over things. He would want to make sure the fire didn’t spread to the woods across the one-lane country highway.

There he stands. Daddy. The statuesque corn farmer, thumbs hooked in denim belt loops, a well-worn hat on his head, and a stoic proprietor’s gaze.

It had been heavy on your shoulders. The guilt. You didn’t offer much sympathy to your parents last week when they had broken the news about an entire crop being infested with a devastating fungus. But you were so consumed with your own problems with your husband. Who could blame you?

“Goan be a big gut punch to the ole wallet, let me tell you,” Daddy had said. You knew that was an understatement; it was his way of avoiding the reality that he may need to put the farm up for sale.

You get out of your truck and stand next to your dad, facing the smoldering field. The fire is still there, but on its way out.

“Looks like you got it under control, Daddy. A regular fire marshal.” You’ve always found it hard to get too serious around your dad. Keeping conversation light is the only way the two of you have ever communicated.

“Yep. Maybe them boys at the fire station will hire me on. Might need a new job now.”

You both force a chuckle. Daddy is worse for the wear.

It suddenly hits you how hard it must’ve been for him to have set fire to his own field intentionally. You wonder how he got up the nerve. A slash-and-burn of this year’s corn was his only choice. There’s some vague recollection from your junior high school education about this agricultural method. Sure the fungus would be killed off and the ground would be left with nutrients from the dead plants, but the soil exhausts quicker this way. You can’t get it off your mind that corn may only grow in this field a few more times before it won’t grow at all anymore.

It was your intention to come here to comfort your father, but you break down instead, overwhelmed with what your husband had done. The tears don’t stop once they’ve started.

“Why did this happen, Daddy? Why did he do this to me?”

Daddy tries to be supportive about the fact that your husband left you, abandoned and pregnant. Though Daddy doesn’t touch you (neither of you have ever been particularly affectionate with each other) he offers up some profundity that surprises you. It isn’t like him.

“I don’t know, darlin’. Why did this crop get slapped with a fungus out of the blue fuck after decades of clean corn before it?”

You sob harder. He reaches over and puts his arm around you for the first time since you were a little girl. Daddy continues, softening his tone.

“I guess sometimes things just need to burn down completely to take the bad and leave what good is left there to thrive,” he says.

~~~

Featured Image by Puttee

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14 thoughts on “Slash-and-Burn

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    1. Oh great news! I am so pumped that it was emotionally moving. I was really worried this wasn’t getting that across. Thanks for taking the time to let me know. really appreciate it. made my day. Have a great week! Happy blogging.

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    1. Halloo Dark. Nice to meet you. I am in shock. How in the… Could it be…? To have something I’ve written make a reader think of Interstellar has made me jump up and hit my head on the ceiling in gladness. Wow. Could I have done that with this story? Wow, maybe you give me too much credit. Idek. It’s hard to see my writing as an outsider does. Anyway. Thank you heartily for commenting and taking the time to do so and compliment me. Glad to be fellow bloggers with you now and have the best week! πŸ™‚ Please let me know of any of your writing that you want feedback on. Would love to read a piece that is important to you.

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  1. This is really powerful. You can feel the bond between father and daughter, and you can feel the emotional pain each is going through for different reasons. Beautifully done! I love how they reach out for each other.

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    1. Vanesssss I totally get your meaning. Why do these hardships come? I believe it’s part of a test, an opportunity for us to find grace and be graceful and grateful for the sake of God, throughout whatever major or minor tragedies come. But be assured, these difficulties will never go away completely for any of us. We still have to maintain faith and goodness anyway. and it is not easy! this i know. Love ya! Wishing and praying for you all the best.

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      1. And in my quick wandering just now, I saw this! I am so sorry I never replied.
        Yes, the hardship question. Complex and I think we won’t know all the answers until heaven anyway.
        But God does promise to “prune” us for our good and for greater growth. But I don’t subscribe to “everything happens for a reason”. I dont’ believe we are puppets. We live in a fallen world and shit happens. And I am not sure about these differences between Islam and Christianity, but Christ is found in the suffering and brokenness. He works so humbly in teh “mundane” and uses peopel as His masks for kindness and love. And He promises to bring good out of the bad. And over here, whenever there is disaster, it seems that is when the best of humanity is displayed, unfortunately…we love our self sufficiency so much, when really, we were designed for each other and for community and I could go on, but I don’t want to preach either ❀
        Oh gosh and I just saw your other comment, so this probably doesn’t help at all…

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  2. Rachellll hii! I’m sorry to be taking the spotlight away from the post for now but I didn’t know how else to talk. And also for having been so inactive with my responses lately.

    How are you? How are things at your end? I sure miss reading your amazing posts!

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    1. Hi girl! Dear sister! hiii! No apology! no no no sorry is needed. You can comment on any post of mine you want to any time. I missed you and I’m glad to hear from ya. Masha Allah.

      Alhamdulillah I am fine. I got an email that you posted on your blog. I will go check it out girl. Thank you for complimenting my posts. That I take to heart and appreciate so much. ❀

      BTW, you can email me anytime too. Either is totally fine. rachelann0000@gmail.com

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