Fall season brings both hurricanes and harvests

Published 4:22 pm Friday, September 6, 2019

It’s that time of year again. Hurricane season. Harvest season. A season of unknowns and unpredictability.

I wholeheartedly love harvest season. I love the smell of tractor diesel fuel mingling with the chemical scent of cotton defoliant and the earthy aroma of freshly dug peanuts. I enjoy seeing cotton modules pop up in fields. I like to be serenaded by the hum of tractors and combines and pickers all working to finish up another year of hard work. During my few years away at college, just hearing the sound of a diesel engine flaring to life during the Fall would immediately make me nostalgic for home.

On the other hand, I’ve come to hate hurricane season. I hate worrying about a potential deluge of rain drowning out pretty fields of cotton, or worrying about wind gusts flattening a nice crop of soybeans. It’s stressful not knowing what will happen, whether you’ll get a gentle rain shower or a storm of utter destruction.

I wasn’t always like this. When I was young, hurricanes were fun because they were a break from the usual routine and monotony of everyday life. Sometimes they meant staying home from school, getting to watch the rain from the front porch, playing card games when the power goes out, and maybe camping out in the basement.

Perhaps one of the worst things about growing up is losing the magic in things that used to be fun because you’ve discovered the consequences and downsides lurking underneath.

There are a lot of farmers in this area, and they all depend on good weather in order to make a living. So I can’t, in good conscience, enjoy something that causes problems for a lot of other people.

If you’re not a farmer, take a moment to imagine what it’s like. Imagine your entire livelihood is dependent on something you absolutely cannot control: the weather. You can be growing the best crop of your life and one ill-timed hurricane can wipe it all out. Or it can be a hailstorm or a persistent drought or unseasonably cold weather. Anything.

Of course there are things like insurance and such to help out when disasters do occur. So farmers can often bounce back, but it’s still a hassle, still a disappointment, still a problem.

As I write this, we’re still waiting for Hurricane Dorian to get here. It doesn’t look like it’ll be too bad for us, but it’s still an interruption from the norm. Many farmers are in the midst of harvesting their corn crop. If you’ve seen a lot more slow-moving equipment and trucks on the road than usual, that’s just someone trying to get as much work done as possible before the storm arrives. I know it’s frustrating (I had to pass my own father hauling a load of corn just last week on my way to work), but try to drive safely around farm equipment.

By the time you read this, the hurricane will have passed. But you never know when the next one will be headed our way. So please, say a prayer for those recovering from devastation in the wake of the storm, those who have had to evacuate, those who have to pick up the pieces and prepare for the future. But also, please say a little prayer for the farmers too.

We still have a long way to go for both harvest and hurricane season.

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at holly.taylor@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7206.