PART II. Neighboring Fields
5. CHAPTER V
Alexandra did not find time to go to her neighbor's the next day, nor
the next. It was a busy season on the farm, with the corn-plowing
going on, and even Emil was in the field with a team and cultivator.
Carl went about over the farms with Alexandra in the morning, and
in the afternoon and evening they found a great deal to talk about.
Emil, for all his track practice, did not stand up under farmwork
very well, and by night he was too tired to talk or even to practise
on his cornet.
On Wednesday morning Carl got up before it was light, and stole
downstairs and out of the kitchen door just as old Ivar was making
his morning ablutions at the pump. Carl nodded to him and hurried
up the draw, past the garden, and into the pasture where the milking
cows used to be kept.
The dawn in the east looked like the light from some great fire that
was burning under the edge of the world. The color was reflected
in the globules of dew that sheathed the short gray pasture grass.
Carl walked rapidly until he came to the crest of the second hill,
where the Bergson pasture joined the one that had belonged to his
father. There he sat down and waited for the sun to rise. It was
just there that he and Alexandra used to do their milking together, he
on his side of the fence, she on hers. He could remember exactly
how she looked when she came over the close-cropped grass, her
skirts pinned up, her head bare, a bright tin pail in either hand,
and the milky light of the early morning all about her. Even as
a boy he used to feel, when he saw her coming with her free step,
her upright head and calm shoulders, that she looked as if she had
walked straight out of the morning itself. Since then, when he had
happened to see the sun come up in the country or on the water, he
had often remembered the young Swedish girl and her milking pails.
Carl sat musing until the sun leaped above the prairie, and in the
grass about him all the small creatures of day began to tune their
tiny instruments. Birds and insects without number began to chirp,
to twitter, to snap and whistle, to make all manner of fresh shrill
noises. The pasture was flooded with light; every clump of ironweed
and snow-on-the-mountain threw a long shadow, and the golden light
seemed to be rippling through the curly grass like the tide racing