Work determines the pulse of each day as the earth sheds her bounty and prepares for winter’s slumber. Everywhere purpose is bent toward the harvest laid out ready at hand. Dill and parsley nod their heads as they wait to dry. Tomatoes fall ripe from vines and apples rain down on the unsuspected. Red foxes leave their burrows in the middle of the day to hunt the field mice left suddenly naked in combine bared fields. Bales stack higher and silos begin to fill and then swell.
The first week of October has shown the promising colours of a gentle autumn. The sky is topped in blue. Cascading down, it breaks upon the fields in a misty haze. The hours of light are rationed now and just past a late supper the day yawns and begins to make way for the night. Misty tendrils wind through the woodlots and spread across the acres. With the fading light fog will lie heavy in beds of corn and beans, curling down to first puddle and then overflow the ditches that line the side of the road. The haze never quite leaves the soil now. In the morning the cloudless heavens find the patio drenched as if by a heavy rain. Even as the sun reaches its zenith the grass swims in the coalesced drops of the Nyx’s dew.
Patches of mushrooms crop up overnight. The damp grassy ceiling is a clarion call to the mother plant deep in the soil and she sends her children out to play. The little fungi soldiers, so full of self-importance strut up and down the lawn. Caps of white, gold and brown shade their little chubby torsos. They gather in groups around the stumps of old trees to discuss military drills and dress uniforms. Solitary giants with caps the size of dinner plates keep to themselves out of snobbery perhaps or just shyness.
The poisonous berries of the poke are a beautiful deadly shade of blackened purple, the skin taut over the bulging pulp. The blossoms of the crawling nightshade have given birth to scarlet kisses that demurely bob beneath green leaves inviting the unwary with a mask of innocence.
Sacrificial pumpkins laze in the garden. If they knew what fate awaited them on All Hallows Eve would they break the vines that bind them and roll off down the lane? Great golden orbs swollen with sun and seeds would roll and bounce down the road, jostling against each other in the dark. The more cautious would hush those who, giggling, are caught up in the adventure of escape and have forgotten their danger. Perhaps somewhere there is a promised land for squash. Where all squash (pumpkins, butternut, spaghetti etc) are equal. There, they and their children live out their lives in secret squash groves never to worry about the knife, the spoon or the candle again.
The man who has conquered his world sees himself as the guardian of the land and her bounty. According to his philosophy, it is through his hard work and cultivation that mother earth reaches her full potential. What a crushing blow, to his close held pride, to find such a secret place. Untouched by human hands, showing no mark of spade or shovel but flourishing just the same. His eyes would find not magic but an aberration to till under lest it act upon his order and control.
The man who has wooed his world sees himself as a partner to the land that blesses him with her bounty. The heart of such a man would not be burdened but bolstered by the knowledge that nature has its own way with mysteries still to discover. He would keep the secret and guard it well giving nature its due as an equal member in his partnership. He and the land will grow together married in the years and the seasons.
The earth is full of mysteries and secret places. There is a hidden world, a universe really, that measures its span out in increments unknown to most of those at the top of the food chain. Perhaps one should count their pumpkins. Just in case.