152 / 365 – Cotton

FINN TILLARY

The cotton is falling. It clusters at the feet of shelterbelts, like a late spring snow. Billows on the quiet streets in town. A whirl of fuzz in the yard, clotted along the edges of grass.

When I was ten and eleven, we had to clean it up. Mow the lawn, rake up the cotton from the grass. I said, Nobody rakes up the cotton. People don’t even call the grass in their yard a ‘lawn.’ It was like I’d heard someone say in town, at church. “He moved to Wisconsin and learned all the ways people get so that they can think they’re better than their family back home.” And, as another said, “What would his father say if he heard him thinking he had a front lawn?”

I always liked it when the cotton blew, except for those two years when he made me rake it out of the grass. Something crazy and disorderly about it, spreading its seed naturally, without all the effort we had to put in every spring to get the wheat and sunflowers and canola in the ground.

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