Friday, November 9, 2012, 9-10 a.m.
It is a still morning, fairly warm, without a breath of breeze. A crow flaps overhead. Crows work hard to stay aloft, beating their wings steadily, never coasting.
On Kolarik Road, just down the hill from St. Wenceslaus Church, what would otherwise be silence is broken by the sounds of men’s voices. Up in the orchard corner closer to the church, a tractor or some other piece of heavy machinery is idling.
At the Centennial Farm on the north side of the road stands a weatherbeaten garage, sided with wood planks like a barn and roofed with rusting but no doubt serviceable corrugated metal, the car that never quite fit into the building sticking out the open door as it has for decades. This old garage with its long-immobile car, like the church just up the hill, is a kind of neighborhood landmark.
In front of the building a maple, mature but still young, raises bare branches to the grey November sky, a few dark, shriveled leaves clinging to the tops of its branches looking like motionless birds. A smaller tree nearby holds an untenanted nest, its summer family gone before snowfall.
A large piece of heavy machinery has begun serious work in the orchard here on the south side of the road. One man guides this machine to push down trees, while another works with a chainsaw. One farmer walks over to the edge of the road and speaks across the ditch between orchard and road.
“Good morning. Yes, it’s a nice day. Too still to burn, though. Need a breeze to fan a fire.” Are they taking out a block? “Part of it, yeah. One variety turned out disappointing, so we’re taking those trees out sooner than we’d planned. Oh, yeah, we’ll replant.”
Somehow the men’s voices and the sounds of farm machinery add to the morning’s peacefulness. Things are well in the neighborhood.