Monday, October 5, 2009

The color of harvest...

The colors fell into piles leaving stark branches behind. I could almost smell the burning leaves of my childhood, now made illegal because of pollution. How I had loved to be in charge of the burning of leaves at the curb! I earned the privilege by showing how carefully I added just a few more rakefuls to the pile and didn't allow the flames to rage.

But now the only flames were in the color of maples, and their glowing cinders slowly drifted until they were slowly extinguished on the ground, getting ready with the help of the snow to merge with the loam beneath them, slowly, slowly....

And in the stillness and crispiness of it, we scurried like squirrels to bring in the last of the harvest. The light went from somber-bright to slanted to shadowy to dusky all too quickly, and we had potatoes left to dig and squash left to cut. Everyone scurried. The wheelbarrow was filled to the tipping point and run up to the porch. Boxes were topped off, then couldn't be lifted. Small arms were filled while small legs ran for the kitchen.

Frost was coming. The great white steed of the north was about to blow out his ice-breath. By morning the grass would be crunchy-white and the squash plants droopy-black.

The goats looked on, munching mouthfuls of alfalfa and timothy to keep warm with. The bacteria in their guts happily stoked up the fires of metabolism when fed such fine fodder, and they would not be cold.

But our noses reddened and we wondered where last winter's mittens had gotten to.

Gradually the dark took over, and the feeble porch light shed no glow on the garden. It was time to quit. As we moved the piles of veggies from the porch to the kitchen, we looked over our shoulders toward the darkened plot and wondered what we had abandoned....

Inside we went about our business: homework, practicing, the cooking of supper. We had turned the heat on just the day before, and we were toasty. Clumps of earth stuck to everything, squash, children, shoes. Later we spread newspapers on the floor and lined the harvest up on them. Hands on our hips, we stood in a circle and smiled, and then got back to work.


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