Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Lord of the Corn

I kicked off Labor Day morning the way most Americans did, butt cheeks firmly clenched around the rickety scaffolding of a wobbly observation tower, fumbling with lenses thirty feet in the air while the sun broke over the rolling horizon of a freshly-groomed corn maze. What - you gonna tell me you slept in late? Not me. Having spent the better part of last week editing American Idol blather only to find out a planned trip to the Memphis auditions would not happen, I somehow found myself signed up for an early morning shift on this very last Monday of Summer. Bracing for balance atop my wavering perch, I scanned the rows of corn for Shannon, all the while repeating the two words that made me feel better for being up at work in the first place…

Double-time. Though truly, my level of recompense would mean little were to I pitch off my skeletal roost and land face first into the cornfield below. With that in mind, I wrapped my leg around a pole and gripped my camera tight as a familiar, folksy voice bled from my headset. ‘That’s your forecast, now let’s go to Shannon Smith - who’s lost somewhere in a cornfield...’ -- ‘Thanks, Roy...’ Shannon’s voice took over and I zoomed in ever so slowly toward where I thought she stood amid the stalks. As the lens pushed in, I picked up their forms, two ladies and having an early morning chat by the towering cornstalks. Thanks to the wireless microphone, I could hear the corn maze lady answer Shannon’s questions as clear as a bell. So too could viewers across the Piedmont. Now if only I could keep from taking a blind step into open air...

Which of course, I did. In fact, I got quite comfy atop my scaffolding as the morning wore on. When I wasn’t tracking Shannon’s distant form among the rows, I sat and watched the sunrise above the expertly groomed field of gold. A light breeze kicked up, reminding me of the promise of the Fall. Soon, the leaves on all those hardwoods would begin to wilt, and fabulously rustic colors would erupt from the trees’ final death throes. For now though, everything was still green and as I stared out over the rolling hills, I realized the smothering humidity of the Carolina summer was finally, mercifully, gone. Of course, I couldn’t help but think of the people down in Louisiana still trapped in their own sweltering hell. That’s when I realized my meager corn maze assignment was the first non-Katrina story I’d pursued in the past week. The Gulf Coast’s plight seemed a million miles away from up there, but I knew all I had to do was climb down to my live truck for a rolling update on the national nightmare. But I didn’t. Instead, I sat up there on my shaky corn-stand and allowed my self to daydream, knowing full well the cell phone on my hip would soon bring it all to an end.

1 comment:

jiri said...

Cool Blog, I never really thought about it that way.

I have a Hurricane Katrina blog. It pretty much covers hurricane related stuff.

Thank you - and keep up the thoughts!