Bales | Coulee City , WA | 2016

At 120 pounds each, these bales embrace gravity like a farm girl hugging a high school quarterback. Hard to wedge them apart. But I once knew a wiry little guy, basically a frame of tendons in worn jeans, who could mimic fulcrum and lever — knees, hips, forearms, zing! — to catapult bales up three stacks onto a flatbed truck. He’d perfected the knack at age 12, he said, “When haying by machine was about as likely as getting paid for it.” Watching him work made me rethink human capabilities and the power of brain over brawn to manipulate the laws of physics.