Knee high

Harlan and the other farmers of the co-op marveled at how quickly it grew. Corn, once sacred to Native Americans, now a source for so much: feed for livestock, ethanol for cars, high-fructose corn syrup for damn near everything. Once that corn seed was modified, improved by scientists at the big agricultural conglomerates, growing it was damn near like printing money.
Harlan hesitated before walking between the swaying rows, gripped by a sudden fear of getting knocked over by the stalks. They grew as in time-lapse photographs but visible to the naked eye. Last week of June, and the crop was almost ready for harvest. He remembered his dad’s old saying, “knee high by the fourth of July.” That’s how fast corn used to grow.
Shaking off his momentary disquiet with a laugh, Harlan stepped into the field, wanting to get a better look at his crop. A light breeze moved the corn, sending it gently shaking one way and letting it bounce back. Poets called it an ocean wave in green or gold. Harlan wanted to drown in it.

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