Some people have fond memories of bright, colorful fall days from their childhood. One of mine is of walking through cold, wet-from-a-heavy dew cotton plants in my grandfather’s fields on Saturday mornings.
My school-system never let out for cotton picking in the fall like some in our area did. But my brothers and I would spend several Saturdays – and some after-school time – each fall helping my grandfather pick his cotton. (The first cotton pickers were around but my grandfather thought they were a fad.)
I thought about those memories while reading an article in the New York Times about how the government of Uzbekistan sends nearly a million people into rural areas to help with the cotton harvest each fall.
The article says the “volunteers,” many of them public-employees and professionals, including doctors, receive little to no pay and are often away from home for weeks at a time. I can’t imagine anything more mind-numbing than this.
There are a lot of people in this country who think the U.S. should reverse the trend toward larger, mechanized farming operations and go back to a day of growing crops organically on what amounts to small plots of land with mostly hand labor.
I wish those folks could spend one day pulling a nine-foot cotton sack through a field on a cold Saturday in Arkansas.