Books and Paint

An improvisational painting by Carol Berning based on the Prologue to Coop:

Grackles, Cow-Birds, and Grubs by Carol Berning Oil ~ 11 x 14

And the prologue in question:

At the earliest edges of my memory, my father is plowing, and I am running behind him. I see my feet, going pat-pat-pat over the soil, I see my father, left hand on the wheel, right forearm braced against the fender, head turning back to check the depth of the plow, then forward to gauge his progress. The soil is red and sandy in the high spots and dark and loamy in the low spots, where it curls from the plowshares like strips of licorice, leaving me this square, shin-deep trough in which to travel. I trail the sound of the little tractor, so close to ground I can hear the soft plop of the overturned clods. Now and then the plow slices the soil so cleanly that a chubby white grub drops into the furrow, unscathed. The grubs are translucent white, their black guts dimly visible, as if through rice paper. Grackles and cow-birds flock the plow, pecking through the new-turned dirt. The grub will not last long. There is my father on his underpowered Ford Ferguson, and there is me trotting right behind him, and there is God above, looking down as I run the straight groove of the furrow, my life laid out on a line drawn in the earth.

Coop, by Michael Perry


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