Rice Fields

by Stefan Chiarantano, Oct 10, 2006 | Destinations: Japan

I lived in a small town filled with rice fields. They were mostly rectangular in shape. The town has various lookout points and from these spots the rice fields resembled little seas of verdant green. The rice plants on their own aren't beautiful to look at and resemble a grass but when planted in neat rows they resemble these little seas of green.

The rice fields have a scent and give off a fragrance of rice, which is quite a nice. Within a month of planting, most of the plants had grown to at least 2 feet in height.

What I particularly loved watching is to see the wind blowing through the rice fields creating rippling waves of green. The plants would dance and sway to the wind. They were beautiful to behold. And they remind me of nature's beneficent quality. I also loved watching birds wade through the rice fields looking for tadpoles, frogs, and water borne insects to eat. They would never trample the plants but gently maneuver around them. It was funny seeing them walking about as they would lift up their legs up above the water level and put them down again. They would remind me of sumo wrestlers. The rice embankments are mowed down on a regular basis and the weeds burned to ash. I've been told that if they don't do so then insects would harbour there waiting to get at the rice kernels. The rice plants had all been planted in perfect straight lines. Even the Japanese sense of order is transplanted to the rice fields. The planting is no longer done by hand except for filling in the fields where the machine can't do it.

I have written that rice fields are home to frogs and have discovered that they are home to fire flies too. I saw them over a period of a few weeks blinking here and there in the rice fields near my home. And just before harvesting, they were home to hundreds of dragon flies.

I looked at the rice fields near where I live and was surprised to see the rice plants sprouting rice kernels.

In late September, the farmers harvested the rice from their fields near my apartment. The air was filled with the fragrance of rice. I took a moment to watch the harvester cut the rice plants quite low. The rice plants were then sucked into the harvester which separates the rice kernels from the plants. The harvester then spits out a mulch. The rice fields are now gone.

Just before the harvesting I saw a few of the feral cats that live in the neighbourhood playing in the rice fields which had large indentations. As the rice plants are top heavy and as the rain weakens the stem, the rice plants toppled on each other creating these indentations. They looked so bemusing and were surprised when I noticed them.

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