Geese are filling the air over the Red River Valley — a sign that spring has come and fieldwork may soon begin.
It's been that way for more than a century in the Dakotas.
Consider the opening lines from the poem “Farming in Dakota” by Mortimer Brown, published in “A Book of Dakota Rhymes” in 1907:
When old man winter gets his back broke and begins to lose his grip
When the butter ducks go whizzing to their summer feeding grounds
An’ the medder lark salutes us with old familiar sounds
When the grass begins ter nestle at the news the breezes bring
And the prairie all around us wakens at the touch o’ Spring
O, it’s then I like ter hustle, when the day begin ter crack
An’ go farmin’ in Dakota – when the birds comes back.
The following lines could have been written today by a farmer listening to the geese in the air and talk about health care reform on the airwaves:
So while many er a kickin’ at the way the world is run
I’ll plod onward in the furrow through the shadder an’ the sun
Quite content ter trust the Giver, at whose hand we never lack
An’ keep farmin’ in Dakota – when the birds come back.