Jim Arkfeld: Appreciating the cycle of life in the Valley

September 21, 2012 

A new day is beginning in Los Banos. Darkness gives way to a low glow as the sun gathers fuel to begin lighting the sky and warming the Earth. The San Joaquin Valley awakens.

In these lush agricultural lands, the sun begins its work by first shining on the green lawns and beautiful flowers, which lend color and fragrance to our lives. Trees lining the streets of Los Banos reach heavenward, connecting the Earth with the sky. This scene greets us as we go out into the world to begin our day.

Residents venture out to the stores where we shop. Children go to the schools where teachers teach. Workers fill the offices where the day's commerce begins. Restaurant workers help keep us fed. The sick visit clinics and hospitals, where doctors and nurses heal them. City and county workers do their jobs of assisting the public. Shop owners provide many of our needs for goods and services. Priests and ministers tend to our heavenly concerns. Police and firefighters spend the day keeping us safe. Truckers haul our bountiful crops to market.

Surrounding Los Banos are rich agricultural lands reaching in all directions as far as the eye can see. Canals flow southward carrying the nourishing water to the productive fields and orchards. Sharing the canals are fish who move freely in their liquid world.

Birds breaking the bonds of Earth soar high above where they flitter and view the awakening scene below. Bees begin their long day gathering nectar and pollinating the valuable agricultural crops. It is ever obvious that we enjoy a coexistence of humans and nature.

Tractors move to and fro, preparing the land for the next valuable crop. The Earth graciously pushes up the plants in its offering to human needs. Farmers carefully use the soil to grow tomatoes, melons, winter wheat and almonds, which help feed us. Cotton growers provide fiber to help clothe us. Alfalfa and corn are grown to furnish silage for cows, who in turn, willingly give up their milk to nourish us.

The financial investment and hard agricultural work pays off as the harvest is gathered. The farmers of Los Banos join others up and down the Central Valley who efficiently feed much of the United States and, indeed, the world. We are quite fortunate to be stewards of this rich, productive land.

The city's residents have spent another day working hard and providing for our needs. We are exhausted. It's time to retreat to our homes after a job well done. Families enjoy the fruits of our labor. We now share a togetherness of family activities. It's time to relax, rest and recreate.

The life-providing sun has used up its daily allotment of fuel. It begins to dim once more. But not before it provides a sunset which thrills the sky over the Coastal Range. Darkness descends and the residents of Los Banos sleep and await yet another productive day in the great San Joaquin Valley.

Arkfeld is a retired teacher in Los Banos. Send comments or questions to him at columns@modbee.com.

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