Map: New Jersey, setting of “Love’s Labor” by Ryder Ziebarth
This is a guest post from Ryder Ziebarth who contributed in response to the American Vignette call for submissions. The setting is New Jersey. Enjoy!

The front views from our New Jersey farmhouse windows sweep across a ten-acre field of timothy. The grass, thigh high now, violet tipped and rippling in the wind like an incoming tide, is almost ready for the second cutting, but surely the farmer who cuts and bales the hay won’t be cutting on Labor Day. Still. I must remind myself to call him, tell him the fields are still too soaked with late summer rain to run the tractor through.

Drinking my coffee in this quiet house while my husband sleeps, I search the field and see the doe; the one who yesterday stood sentry there, with the grass to her flanks. She is standing between two roadside cedars. Now, I am sure that nestled beneath her is a newborn fawn – cinnamon and white spotted – delicate as a bone china teacup teetering on the edge of a table.

I must make sure the farmer won’t be cutting this weekend. I want to give the mother a few more days with her baby. I linger at the window, my eyes now watching my daughter, my first born, my only, drive her jeep away, down the dirt road running parallel to the field. She’s risen and packed early, wanting to get on her way, so much work ahead this semester. Her own life her priority. But she will slow as she passes the doe and her fawn, recognizing the bond. She will not beep her car horn one more time as she usually does, mindful not to startle the fragile pair, but rolls down her window and waves her hand into the air. She knows I wave back, watching her car pull onto the main road stretching out in front of her.

Ryder Ziebarth grew up on the farm she writes about. She is a freelance writer, a Nantucket Book Festival Advisor and currently a candidate for a MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, N Magazine, Brevity, as well as other print and online sources. Her daughter, a singer, is in  her last year at Berklee College of Music. Ryder ‘s work can be seen at Notes from the Field.

8 thoughts on “Guest post: Love’s Labor

  1. Oh so lovely. Aching and beautiful. You nailed the sea-like movement of the field grasses with the poetry I aimed for (and missed) in my Colorado essay. Perfect description.


  2. When faced with a really great piece of writing, I become speechless. My comments are much the same as everyone else’s. Beauty…and truth. Maybe Keats said it first, but it certainly applies here.

    Liked by 1 person

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