It is mid-March 2020. Snow has melted but nothing has begun to green. Days are dreary flat lit grey and the wind is bitter. The world is being systematically shut down by a virus that unites us as it drives us apart.
I walk to work alone, one of a skeleton crew of ag hands kept on in the hopes that, come summer, there will still be people to feed. The world seems oddly stagnant, suspended between seasons under the overcast sky, as the empty sheds echo, and repetitive tasks that would take a chatting crew of three mere hours stretch to fill days. The wind chaps my well-scrubbed hands and frays my braids into my off-limits face. My only companions are a flock of mourning doves industriously stripping a freshly thawed neighboring field of anything edible. At unpredictable intervals they take to the air as one with a sound like crumpling paper. I never tire of watching them circle and weave, wheeling through the sky and suddenly spilling back to earth, where we all go back to work as if nothing had happened.
I know this pocket of time is transitory, that this is the calm before the storm, the edge and not the eye. But for one week I speak to no one but the wind, and feel strangely at peace.