Rite Of Spring - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1946039

Rite Of Spring

If you traverse the back roads in Water Mill, Bridgehampton and Sagaponack, you’ve noticed that annual ritual, spring potato planting, is well underway. The scent of freshly plowed, rich soil is in the air, and you feel heartened to see that farmers have once again taken to the fields.

In memory of our son, Teddy, we are sending in his poem celebrating spring planting.

The Soil Is Calling

It happens each spring out on the East End.

Around 5:30 in the morning,

it’s time to get out of bed.

Early, dark, damp, cold,

but that’s the beauty of it.

Hey, Sporty, bacon, toast?

Breakfast is quick.

The soil is calling.

The red ’82 Chevy has been waiting

since November to go.

We shove off. Hats and gloves on,

it’s gonna bite today.

The seed has already been cut.

The trucks are ready for war.

The barn door opens.

The tractors and trucks just wait there.

For an instant you feel

like the king of the world.

The key turns.

Nothing but a nice screech and a grind.

Finally, it’s on.

The John Deere is barking and howling,

ready to hit the field.

The Chevy, the fertilizer and seed trucks,

and the planter are coming down.

Just a little ways from where

Mitchell meets Scuttle Hole, we start up.

The seed is dumped into the planter,

the Deere growls up, almost ready.

The soil smells better than

anything could ever smell.

The cold makes you feel proud

that this is what you do.

The plow has already churned up a few furrows.

Boss, let’s get going.

The Deere pulls the planter,

the hydraulics lower down

and we move.

Down the row we go

just the dark soil, the sun and us.

No amount of money on earth

could ever match this feeling.

Never mind potato bugs, droughts, floods,

Nematodes, blights or taxes.

Just breathing in the clean air

makes it all worth it.

For the first mornings of spring,

we rule the world.

It is work, but it is glory.

It happens each spring out on the East End.

(Written by Teddy Graboski, age 16, spring 1997.)

Benny and Nancy Graboski