There is a Season

The old saw says there are two season in Minnesota; winter and road construction. For the rural community, life revolves around the seasons of planting, growing, harvest, and equipment repair and for the rural lawyer, these rhythms influence the rhythms of our practice.

The start of planting season is heralded by warming temperatures, the deep-throaty grumbled of diesel engines, the odor of freshly manured fields and the client calls asking for appointments :”after second cutting” or “when the corn’s in” or “once the oats are in”. I should note that these times are not as nebulous as they sound at first; they are just part of the rhythms of the harvest season and coincide with peaks in clients’ income streams. Now the actual calendar dates are variable being dependent on a host of factors but after a little observation and some experience it becomes second nature to know to plan appointments “after second cutting” for early September, those for “when the corn’s in” for the first part of November and those  “once the oats are in” are typically reserved for the middle of August.

As the seasons press inevitably forward, these dates become firmer, weather and seed permitting harvest inevitably comes and it behooves the rural lawyer to follow up on those planting season inquires during the long, hot, languid days of summer that mark the peak of the growing season. This is a time for quiet drives in the cool of the evening past your neighbors (and clients) fields to see how the crops are fairing, to perhaps stop and have a chat over a fence post or on the back porch, to inquire on how they are doing. This is a social call, mentioning business would be rude, besides you can get the information you need to firm up that fall schedule just by asking “how’s the corn looking?” as you can by asking “say do you think you’ll be ready to come in on the 20th?”. Harvest will come when harvest comes.

For everything there is a season, And a time for every matter under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up  — Ecclesiastes 3:1-3