My father swerves the team
to miss the quail’s nest
hidden in the furrow
she rises up beating her wings
her cries fill all the world
of sky and cloud echoing her call…
and so he passes
the caring farmer with his crooked furrow
saluting life the warm round eggs
hidden in the spring grass
the quail rising and falling
pulled by invisible heartstrings.
~Dorothy Hewitt “Quail’s Nest”
I remember my father driving a stake
where the killdeer nest held 6 speckled eggs,
and the mother would run off crying,
flapping and appearing wounded
to lure him away from her precious brood.
He would drive the plow around those nests,
marking their spot for the season,
respecting their presence,
preserving their future,
without anyone telling him
he should or he must
because his heart told him
it was the right thing to do.
thank you to Joel DeWaard for giving me permission to use his recent photos from the Lynden International Plowing Match that takes place just down the road apiece.