Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November: June

    The frost is here again. It has blasted the tomato vines and beans; the cucumber shoots are limp with blackened withered leaves; the stately rows of sugar corn rustle dryly in the wind; the last cosmos and dahlia are gone, and the proud bushes that bore the flaring blooms are broken and dead; the China asters and the marigold are in ruins.
   So has the garden gone; the hopes of June with the achievements of August and September are passed again into the burdened years. A tinge of sadness is in the crisp autumn air, the low sun is only mildly warm at noon, and twilight creeps on before the day's work is done. Here is the wreck of the year; all the energies that burst in April are spent, the leaves loose their hold in a million appointed places and fall aimlessly into unassorted heaps. One would think that defeat and death are everywhere. The deadness of the winter night is even yet marching on the landscape. It is accounted a sad and ineffective ending for the brilliantly promises of May.
   A squirrel is harvesting the fallen nuts, to store them against the needs of winter; he is alert and quick, and apparently has neither fear nor dread. The hens go in and out contentedly. Cattle are in peace on distant fields. Crows flap out and away at dawn and back again at night as they flew to feeding-grounds in summer. The pinks that spiced the air in May and June are making bright aspiring shoots from the bottoms of their grassy clumps: another May is coming. Young hollyhocks with great bold leaves are along the margins: another July is in their roots. Foxgloves, snapdragons, and campanulas are sprouting at the base in sheer anticipation. Fresh tufts have sprung where the Madonna lilies held their stately bloom when June was passing to July. Great buds are on the crowns of the Christmas rose, to give bloom again before St. Patrick's Day, and the rhubarb crowns are ready. The twigs of tress from which the dead leaves fell are heavy with great buds that have harvested the vigor of summer and that will burst in leaf and bloom when the swallows come again. Men are plowing in the fields, to make ready for a new earth. Fences are building, old accumulations of worn-out things are burning in their heaps, highways are receiving the final betterments, crops are in the harvest. Men and pinks and squirrels are instinct with ancient faith.
    It has been a brilliant year, when beast and tree and men have ridden one more journey around the sun and have come back with a harvest. The holy harvest is in the season's brood, the showers of fallen golden leaves, the preparation for another May, the year's accomplishment and the ripened soul. The energies of June are garnered in November. -L.H. Bailey, The Harvest
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