I knew nothing about the life cycle of the cotton plant, but this page on GardenGuides.com helped me learn a bit. A cotton plant needs 160 frost-free days, lots of heat, and fertile soil to reach maturity. It first produces white flowers, which then turn pink and fall off. That's when the familiar boll (or pod) starts forming, with the cotton fibers growing from the seeds within.
Although harvest has begun on some fields where the plants have already lost their leaves, "our" fields across the road are still producing and aren't quite ready to be picked. I tried to get a field photo, a plant photo, and a close-up of the bolls.