by Rodney Nelson
They claim we have four seasons,
Summer, Winter, Fall and Spring,
But I guess it’s just a theory
And doesn’t mean a thing.
The frost never really leaves us
‘Cause it’s always in our minds.
The ground is barely warming up
When we crawl off our behinds
To begin the yearly ritual
Like the grooming of the fields,
For any moment wasted
Affects the average yields.
With the calving and the fencing
And the fixing every day,
Before we even know it
We’re a sweating, making hay.
We’ve barely shucked the long johns
When the fireworks report.
The Fourth is now upon us
And the summer’s getting short.
The pace gets ever frantic
With the harvest coming on.
One day you see a school bus
And you know the summer’s gone.
You have to get the work done,
You have to beat the frost.
If you cheat the growing season
You’ll have to bear the cost.
It’s hard to get the hay hauled
‘Cause we’re seeing way less sun.
It’s time to get all winterized
And get the weaning done.
Let’s say you haven’t weakened
And you’ve maintained the pace,
There’s a chance you might be ready
When the snow beats on your face.
So I doubt there are four seasons
There are only two, I fear,
There’s the one we’re getting ready
And the one when winter’s here.
But I’ll say this for winter,
For all its frigid blasts,
It’s the season we’ve been working for
And the only one that lasts!
…Rodney Nelson, used with permission.
North Dakota rancher, poet, columnist, and Senior Pro Rodeo champion Rodney Nelson includes this poem in his new book, Up Sims Creek: The Third Trip. The book includes 100 selections from his popular”Up Sims Creek” column in Farm and Ranch Guide. The columns include poems and prose and are full of vivid, mostly humorous accounts of rural life. He has written 610 columns to date and has now collected the first 300 in three books.
The cover of the new book depicts the store on Sims’ Main Street. It and the book’s illustrations are by North Dakota farmer and rancher Scott Nelson, whose drawings appear in Rodney’s other books, including his heartwarming Wilbur’s Christmas Gift book.
Rodney and Scott are both known for their lack of marketing enthusiasm. Rodney writes in his current column, “A lot of people ask or assume Scott and I are related. We are not related but both of us were blessed with a name we could spell easily by the time we reached third grade.
“Scott and I do share the same marketing skills. If asked what Scott would charge for a painting or a sketch he would likely roll his eyes and ask why anyone would want one…
“I have often left on a book selling trip with high expectations of making lots of sales. After driving considerable distances to some town, I typically look for some place that would be willing to sell them. Usually, after a couple laps around Main Street, I decide I should probably try some other town.”
So to help readers find his books, here’s another quote from the column, “The first 100 trips is $13, the second and third books are $20 each. I still have plenty copies Wilbur’s Christmas Gift available so for $10. All are postpaid to make it easy.” Contact him at 4905 44th St., Almont, ND 58520.
Rodney Nelson returns to the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering January 28 – February 2, 2019. Check out their YouTube channel for performances by Rodney Nelson and much, much more.
The lineup includes 3hattrio, Amy Hale Auker, Mike Beck, Geno Delafose & French Rockin Boogie, John Dofflemyer, Joshua Dugat, Maria Lisa Eastman, Mary Flitner, Jamie Fox & Alex Kusturok, Ryan & Hoss Fritz, Dick Gibford, DW Groethe, Andy Hedges, Brenn Hill, Tish Hinojosa, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Ross Knox, Ned LeDoux, Daron Little, Corb Lund, Carolyn Martin’s Swing Band, Sid Marty, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Gary McMahan, Waddie Mitchell, Michael Martin Murphey, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Diane Peavey, Shadd Piehl, Vess Quinlan, Halladay & Rob Quist, Henry Real Bird, Brigid Reedy, Randy Rieman, Jake Riley, Matt Robertson, Olivia Romo, Trinity Seely, Sean Sexton, Sourdough Slim, Dave Stamey, Gail Steiger, Colter Wall, and Paul Zarzyski. Find more at nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org.
Find more about Rodney Nelson, some of his poetry, and information about his earlier books and CDs at CowboyPoetry.com.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem with this post, but please request permission for any additional uses.)