Wednesday, November 14, 2007

In High Cotton

Not a breath of air stirred
over the free and open prairie;
the clouds were like light piles of cotton;
and where the blue sky was visible,
it wore a hazy and languid aspect.
-Francis Parkman

It's cotton pickin' time in north Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. The time of year - beginning in late October - when the harvesters descend upon the prairies and dusty cotton fields like grasshoppers did Egypt... scurrying and hopping everywhere... gobbling up everything in sight, leaving only tall sticks and spindly stumps behind.

It's another world up here. Up here in high cotton. Tufts of the bloomed, land-grown marvel blow across streets and make pillowy piles at curbs and gutters. A good strong wind is likely to hurry both tumbleweeds and wisps of cotton at you. They sail through the air here instead of leaves, striking you with the feeling that you're glassed inside dusty, cotton-balled snow globe. Strange feeling. Makes you want to wear calico skirts and dark, pointy-toed boots and be Mary Poppins, carrying a parasol to shield you from the wind, tumbleweeds, and cotton. Or at least float you above them.

Cotton really is magical. It's the strangest thing you've ever seen hanging from a plant. Or picked from a plant. I'm wondering if I can snag a cotton-producing wonder or two to take back with me to Freeman House. Don't know why, except I think it would be wonderful to look out my tall, tall windows and see both roses and cotton blowing in the wind.

Ah, okay. Maybe not. But it would still be interesting to grow cotton one year. If only to pretend you're a millennium Mary Poppins, bringing home-grown stuffed stuffies and spoonfuls of sugar to lonely, bored children.

I've been a terrible tour guide of late. Sorry. But I did want to take you out to show you the cotton. The high cotton.

It's a marvelous, strange place, that gives a strange, marvelous feeling. You'd know what I mean. If you were standing here alongside me this morning, watching it all sail by, you'd know what I mean.


Patsy from Illinois said...

I am so glad you are feeling better. Would you do me a favor? When you get back to Freeman house...think about getting a kitten. I think Mae would want you to do this.

Happy Travels,

Brambleberry said...


Anonymous said...

And here I thought you would tell us that you had become a "cotton picker"..thanks for sharing the pics and of course your whereabouts so far, Brin. I find cotton in it's raw form fascinating until I'd have to pick it I suppose.

Cyndi said...

Hey girl,
ack cotton!!! ya know how some people cringe at the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard? That is me with cotton. You can ask shel I cant even take it out of an asprin bottle. ha
Thinking about you girl!

Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

Brin, how beautiful your cotton pictures are, it's as if I'm standing right along side of you!

I remember the first time I saw cotton, being a yankee woman it was so awesome to see something so beautiful.

Please do pick some to take home, I paid big bucks for my little bunch in Savannah, Ga this spring! :-)

Anonymous said...

My dad picked cotton to make money for college. It surrounded much of the town here. Can you imagine????? I wonder if manna looked like cotton.....

Terri Steffes said...

I love cotton. When I was younger, my favorite book for a time was Cotton in my Sack by Lois Lenski. She wrote books in the 30s and 40s and I truly loved her style. She might be considered politically incorrect now, but I loved her then.

The cotton life is a hard one but looking at those bolls makes it seem so nice.