Saturday, May 22, 2010

Knee high by the Fourth of July

You can only imagine the deep sighs of disapproval I heard yesterday when I asked Meelyn to pull over by the side of the road so that I could get out of the van and take a picture of a little corn plant growing in a field.

The sighs were almost as gusty as the wind, which was blowing yet another chilly rainstorm over us at the time. But I am an intrepid photographer (who seems to be taking pictures of an awful lot of plants lately, hmmm...) who can brave the weather both inside and outside the minivan, so here you have this dynamic shot of corn growing in the mud underneath a grumpy grey sky.

Corn is good to eat, I can tell you that. I have no way of knowing if this particular field is going to yield sweet corn for roasting and buttering and salting or field corn for feeding the pigs. Or, you know, maybe even popcorn! In which this field would be like a wondrous dream and I would have to frolic through the mud, kissing each little plant. Which. I don't really think I'd ever do, but it was fun to type it.

Anyway, the corn is supposed to be, according to pioneer folklore, "knee high by the Fourth of July." It acutally gets much taller than that now, probably because of, I don't know....better seed? Better fertilizers and herbicides? Anyway, it's more like thigh or even waist high by the time the fireworks are going off at Memorial Park in New Castle.

For those of you who don't know about corn, did you know that it gets really, really tall? In the musical Oklahoma, corn is reputed to grow "as high as an elephant's eye," and if that's about eight feet tall or so, I'd say that an elephant's eye is a good measure. And spiders grow in it, spinning their webs between the plants, so that if you're walking through a cornfield, you can end up with a sticky mess -- and maybe even an arachnid! -- in your hair, which is something that used to make me go, "AAAAAAAIIIIEEEEEEEEEE!!!! AAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!! GETTIT OFF!!! GETTIT OFF!!!! OFF ME!!! AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!" back in my cornfield walking days, which ended precisely after I got that first spider web in my hair.

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