Season of Harvest

When autumn finally arrived, the towns children were buzzing with excitement.

In their evenings they no longer played video games or watched television. They all gathered in the gazebo at the town square and stuffed the scarecrows.

There wasn't any laughter, not any joking and very little talking. The air was full of the sound of corn husks and the tangy and almost unpleasant smell of the same.

To the few people who were strangers who passed though that little town square, the children looked somber, not excited. But the townies knew better.

The adults watched their children, with small smiles on their faces. Some of the children’s relaxed enthusiasm rubbed off on them.

They felt the joy of the coming of autumn, but sadness as well, because they knew that the scarecrows were not for the fields.

By the time the last of the leaves fell from the trees, hundreds of scarecrows were in the gazebo, and surrounding it. Even the gazebo's roof was covered with the stuffy men.

Autumn was easing into winter, and the night had come.

Bonfire night.

The children stood in a huge circle around the scarecrow filled gazebo, gazing at it with hungry smiles in their eyes, as the youngest of them walked up and was handed the gift of a burning stick.

Fire. Most days of their lives they were told to never play with it. On this night they got to use it.

The youngest would touch it to the foot of the nearest stuffy, and soon they all lit up.

When the fire was nearing its peak all the children were sent to their homes, but the adults would stay by the fire.

The children never complained, never tried to stay, because the fire, once large, frightened them, as did the screams they sometimes thought they heard as they lay in their beds, trying to sleep while shadows from the stuffy bonfire danced on the walls and ceilings of their rooms.

Life has four seasons, they are taught.

Spring is the newborn babies, fresh and new.

Summer is the children, still young with plenty of time left in their year, but no longer fresh, no longer new.

Fall is for the adults, aging, fading, growing dry and discolored like the leaves on the trees.

And then there is winter, when you die.

When fall finally arrives, winter soon follows.

Every night, after the stuffy fire, the children watch their parents sweep up the ash and rebuild the gazebo, already preparing for next years harvest of those in the winter of their lives.


cass said...

Great story! It gave me chills.

Faith said...

Hi Nona! I have a blog here too, but so far, I haven't received a single comment. I've been debating on whether or not to keep mine.