The Mystery of Faith and Cold Fronts By W.K Kortas

The Mystery of Faith and Cold Fronts

It had missed them, of course;
He’d watched the radar on the laptop
The economics guru from the Ag Extension
Claimed was indispensable to the modern farmer
(After all, the specialist said, farmers were accountants and entrepreneurs,
Not to mention environmentalists and global marketers;
Looking over his brown, burnt lawn and the dusty path to his silos,
He’d grunted Mebbe I need to be a medicine man or magician.)
Oh, there had been some rain, here and there;
Milt Stone’s place over by East Groveland had seen a three-minute shower,
And a cousin who lived out toward Watkins Glen
Said the vineyards on Seneca Lake enjoyed a nice little soak,
But neither his place nor anyone else ten miles in any direction saw so much as a drop,
As had been the case for several weeks, despite any number of late afternoons
When great portentous banks of clouds,
Looking for all the world like so many black-robed judges,
Inscrutably ancient and hunched over, piled up on the horizon,
Dry lightning dotting and dashing in some obscure and enigmatic cipher,
And one sleepless evening he’d been watching the TV news out of Buffalo
When the anchor asked, professionally breezy and unconcerned,
So, Ted, is this the night we’ll have some actual rain in the forecast?
But the weatherman’s face was all grimness
(He’d been brought up on a farm out towards Castile,
And knew full well how folks’ guts were all twisted up
By the struggle between hopefulness and frustration)
And he simply shrugged and spread his arms wide, palms up,
Like some disappointed Magi who had no gift to offer.

He had, as he did every Sunday, stopped to pass some time with neighbors
After services at the Presbyterian Church in Avon
(The current occupant of the pulpit a thin, pinch-faced young man
Whose reedy voice contained an edgy, wheedling tone
Which gave the impression that he was not wholly convinced of God’s grace.)
They discussed important matters: who’d gotten how many notices from the bank,
How things compared to the great dry of sixty-four,
When they’d lost the corn and soybeans all together,
And how a good half-dozen farmers, convinced they’d been forsaken,
Had shot themselves in their haylofts or corn cribs,
And everyone agreed that the weather would break soon,
Though whether that was because they’d earned it or simple mathematical probability
Was a matter of considerable debate.

By W.K Kortas


W.k. kortas is an itinerant civil servant living in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains.  He lives and works by the axiom “Mediocre means better than some.”

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