The view from the farmhouse was that of fields on rolling hills. In the summertime, the hills came alive with Elfun grass that swayed with the breeze. The autumn, Kara watched from her bedroom window as the men harvested the grass, gathering it up with scythe and twine, then loading it on to the wagons. In the winters, the hills were barren mounds of short stubble that lay in wait for the spring thaw. And, in spring, the first signs of life sprouted and grew nearly fast enough to be seen with the naked eye.
Her father had planted the Elfun grass. It was a tall and thick and a deep emerald green. The fields were once a dense forest that her great-great-grandfather had begun clearing in his youth. The lumber he harvested built their farm and barns as well as half the village. Despite her family’s long connection to the land, the fields were not theirs. Rather, they were communal property, as were most open spaces in their realm.
The farmhouse though, that was theirs, at least so long as they remained caretakers of the fields. It was the role of caretaker that allowed her father the authority to plant Elfun grass, albeit with the approval of the village. Now Kara watched as the men of the village helped gather up the year’s crop, divvying up the harvest equally for all. It was peaceful work, honest and noble. It was good work that fortified the soil as much as the community.
Her society saw such work as men’s work, not that it was exclusively so. Many seasons people of every gender participated in at least some part of the harvest, but often the nature of the work just seemed to appeal to the men of the community more than any others. It was not more valuable work. There was just something about the nature of it that seemed to attract the men.
That was about the extent of gender roles in her society. Kara could have taken part in the harvest, had she so chosen, but, as with everyone, she was under no obligation to. Those that helped did so because it was an enjoyable way to contribute. Her society had no shortage of ways to contribute, and virtually everyone found something that fulfilled or inspired them.
Today, Kara’s contribution was writing. She had a knack for that and her stories never failed to entertain. Sometimes scary, sometimes thrilling, always inspiring. Kara’s writing was loved by all, and such a contribution added to the life and soul of her people. Just as the Elfun grass nourished the people’s bodies, her writing, her imagination and creativity, nourished their hearts.
Now she sat by her window, watching the men slice and stack the grass for each new wagon as it arrived. She marveled at the swaying hills, knowing soon the barren winter would descend upon them. Then, she started to write a new story.
***Thank you for reading. If you like what you’ve read please feel free to check out some of my other stories.
Sandy is a story about determination and persistence in the face of unrelenting adversity.
Raven in the Window is about struggling with depression and slowly giving in.