never again will i leave a grain of rice in my plate.
planting rice was amazing. it required ALL of my energy and attention. it was very exhausting but also rewarding.
there were about 100+ people in the morning. when i got to the field, a big group of thais and foreigners were pulling out rice shoots from the ground and tying them in bundles. i was a bit hesitant when my friend beckoned me to start working. why, i had to walk down into the mud barefeet! plus, i had no work gloves.
but in i went. what a blast i had! the pulling took the whole morning for me. it was tiring bending my back…and sometimes squatting under the sun. yet the sense of being so close to the nature…and the contentment just to sit there and finish the task at hand were beyond description. i had wanted to do something like this for a very long time. i did not mind being splashed with mud or having to squat for 3 hours.
at one point, there were a zillion of dragonflies hovering over the field i was working on. my friend pointed it out to me, and i thought to myself, “it is going to rain soon.” sure enough, 5 minutes later, heaven opened its gate and it was pouring. some of us ran back inside but a whole lot of us stayed.
the rain was cool and refreshing. though there was no sun in the morning, there was still the heat. but the rain washed away our sweat. and we ran, slid, sang and kept planting the rice plants. every dip i made, i prayed, “oh Lord, may this plant grow beautifully and bear fruit…because right now, i am just not sure if i am doing it right…or whether they are going to take roots.”
it made me think of the movie called “faith like potato”. the lead character decided, at the end of the movie, to plant potatoes even though they were being attacked by the el nino. there was simply not enough rain or water to keep the potatoes grow. but as time passed and the harvest came, they found that the potatoes did not only grow but that they were big fat golden ones (this is actually based on a true story, mind you. if you are interested, you can just type the name of the movie in google).
when we plant something, we do not see the underneath part. but we have to trust the nature that the plant will take roots and yield fruits…just as their nature does. that requires faith.
after lunch, there were only about 60 of us who worked on the rest of the field. i started to get really exhausted. but i gritted my teeth and went ahead to finish my task. i made up my mind before i jumped into this deal, that whatever happened…rain or sun…fun or tired…i would not leave in the middle of it. i wanted to experience what the farmers, especially those ones who do it for the living…who do not own the fields…and who struggle to put something on their dinner table, do. i wanted to feel the contentment and the weariness…the joy and the obligation.
i was humbled. in the hard afternoon hours, laughter and jokes were continually pouring out of the workers’ lips. they were but teenagers and college students.
when i looked up to ponder on the vastness and wondered how long it was going to take to finish, somebody would bump into me. then i looked…their hands were moving tirelessly. suddenly, i was surrounded by the green plants.
the people kept me moving. there was a lady who would keep shouting, “soo soo!”, which means “keep going! keep going!” or “fighto! fighto!”. so i decided to do my part…to keep dipping the plants into the paddy…one by one…until at last, scattered all over the field were our rice plants…green against blue…neatly tucked under the earth…waiting for the time to turn gold….through the sun and the storms.
p.s. i will post some pictures from today this upcoming week. stay tuned. 🙂