Several slaves, five or six of them, both men and women, were cutting and shocking corn by moonlight out on Bird's Branch Road, not far from the church. In her vision she saw them plainly, working steadily along to the rhythm that their corn knives hacked into the rustling of the dry corn. They were singing. They were singing, "Freedom! Oh, freedom!" That was all the song, but they sang it back and forth among themselves. Sometimes they would fall silent, and then the song continued unsung to the beat of the knives. And then a solitary voice would lift into the moonlight, "Oh, freedom!" and then they would all sing "Freedom! Oh, freedom!" a cry that was old and creaturely and human. Later she would imagine that there had rarely been a time, and in Port William after slavery perhaps never again a time, when the word "freedom" had been so understandingly sounded. As the singers sang, they worked. As they worked, the rows of standing corn slowly became fewer and the rows of shocks increased. Over the striking of the knives and the steady rustling of the corn and the singing, the moonlight fell as if a greater silence were thus made visible.
Wendell Berry, A Place In Time (2012)