Harvesting Time

Rana Zeller, of Zeller Harvesting Co., Herington, KS

That first meal of the year takes place on the eve of a new harvest season. This meal is cooked for a crew of people who will spend the next several months living on the road.  It is cooked with excitement and joy as we begin the year; proud of the life we have chosen.   These men, along with children and wives are only the beginning of the mouths we are responsible to feed.  Tomorrow we begin the next season of our lives with the responsibility of harvesting wheat that will provide meals for the mouths of so many.  Our hearts are filled with mixed feelings and we have enjoyed watching the sun rise and set out the windows of our place we call home.   We will pack that last basket of clothes and pile of paperwork into our campers.  We will provide bedding to those who may have left theirs behind, and be sure everyone has a place to rest their heads.  We will enjoy the last night in the comfort of the bed in our home.  We will set our alarms to a time when the sun has not yet risen.


The feeling we feel the next morning, is a feeling of responsible freedom, the feeling of butterflies on our 16th birthday, excitement mixed with concern, a feeling that cannot be explained.  The men are moving about with flashlights, doing one last check and filling out the necessary paperwork.  The women are anxiously waiting in started trucks with campers attached.  The children have already fallen back asleep with a great sense of security.  We each anxiously await that first sunrise of the new harvest year.  More quickly than expected we start to see a light in the sky, which soon brings the dawn of a new year.  The trucks have all been started for quite some time, the smell of fuel flows through the air. We finally hear the announcement on the radio, it’s time to move down the road.

Over the next day, and the months coming, we will only drive forward, down many roads and many rows of crops looking to the setting of the sun, to hear the call of the last load of the day.  We will look forward to seeing an empty field, ready to be planted again.  We will look forward to seeing the crop we harvested fed to mouths of animals and humans. We will look forward to the short periods of sleep, leading up to the rise of the sun again.  We will live in a house with people from many places with different backgrounds.  We will realize that though we come from different aspects of life, for this next season we are family, we realize we have the same needs.  We realize that the needs we share, as harvesters, are the same needs as the farmers who planted the crops, the producers of the seeds, the manufacturers of the equipment we use, and the needs of those across the world.  It is a privilege to be part of something that provides food to so many.  We, like everyone, long for the start of new life and a new day in the rising of the sun.