They were making hay in the field behind my house and I paused to watch the tractor going back and forth, the bailer towing behind and the bales spitting out into piles.
I watch the bailers every year with the same fascination, and each time I do I remember, many years ago, when there was magic.
We were kids, sitting in the sunshine by the edge of a cornfield, watching a bailer just like this one. And on one of his circuits the farmer stopped.
“You kids,” he said. “You can play with this stack if you want. But don’t go touching any of the others.”
We waited until he had gone.
Those bales became a fort, and a castle, a dungeon and at one point just an ordinary shop. We fought battles, held sieges and made daring rescues, chasing our enemies across the stubble in the summer sun.
Later the farmer came back with a trailer, loaded them up, and the magic was gone.