The rice grows. Flat green blades, heading and flowering, ripening into a milky stage. Finally golden brown, heavy, dry. Ready for harvest they pray once again for late summer storms to scatter, to blow over the county, leaving them at peace to work into the night.
Throughout the spring and summer they send up silent prayers. These rough, hardworking, strong farmers ask for very little else other than ideal growing conditions. Not too hot. Perfect rainfall.
Just one more good crop.
Self-taught, yet like highly educated scientists, they control weeds and pests and test soil for nutrients, constantly patrolling the fields, sensing the slightest alteration in the landscape. They hear the wind change direction and feel the days get shorter.
Combines, massive and roaring, move into the fields, threshing and cutting, churning up dust and debris, leaving jagged stalks and stubble behind. Leaving duck blinds, partially revealed.
Thick flocks of black birds circle at a safe distance, curious, panicked. They watch their summer food vanish. Winter is not far behind.