Sunday, October 11, 2009

FIELD NOTES: My head cold has been replaced with a new malady….

Sunday morning musings

…fall festival overload. Unlike summer, fall does not unfurl like a satin runner down a long aisle, affording the opportunity to smile and wave as you step, lightly-clothed, down its path. Autumn, especially in New England, bursts overhead like a comet; you catch its full beauty only if your timing is right. There are so many ‘festivals’ available this weekend, that yesterday I woke up with a headache and, after managing to tutor a student for several hours in the morning, took a 3 hour nap on a sunny bed. As if to prove there was nothing wrong with me, I got up and mowed the front lawn, stopped to rake the pine cones and needles covering half of it, then roasted a chicken for supper, listened to Prairie Home Companion and Thistle & Shamrock before hunkering down under the covers with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, my latest book club selection. There…that’s about as ‘twittery’ as I’ll get…and only to emphasize the point that I have ‘festival overload’. My town has been going through an identity crisis for the past decade or so as it tries to transition from agrarian to touristy and also to meld the two. Every group and organization wants a piece of the apple pie which usually includes fund-raising and/or merchandising. When I was growing up a few towns over, there was no need for farm festivals; if you wanted to see farm animals or needed to buy some corn or squash or pumpkins or apples or cider, you stopped at one. Fall wasn’t advertised, it just happened. Just about every other house in my neighborhood has a version of a scarecrow on a stick purchased at the store for $4.99…including yours truly! To revive creativity, we had our preschool class stuff some extra kid’s clothes in our classroom with paper leaves, tape a ball on for the head, prop him in a little rocking chair and they named our ‘new student’ Macy. It was refreshing to see them excitedly take ownership of this half-planned activity. I love fall…I guess it’s just too brief…it’s time again to clean the patio & garden and put away all their charming accessories. There is urgency unlike summer because, ready or not, winter can now strike at any time putting an abrupt end to autumnal tasks…and pleasures. Not a good year for tomatoes, the prettiest things in my vegetable garden are the pinwheels I weaved into the wire fencing so, in the afternoon that promises to be a gorgeous fall day, I will break it down and take a trip to the local farm shop to decorate it with some mums, ornamental cabbage, straw bale and maybe a pumpkin or two. In the end, it is not the fall festivals that I am actually critical of; it is not having enough time to enjoy all the nooks and crannies of the season. If the workday talk after this long Columbus Day weekend begs the question “How come you didn’t go the _____ festival?” I will say I did…at home…

6pm Postscript: 'round about 3 p.m., I had lots of company outdoors...the rev and lurch of tractors and mowers, the rhythm of rakes, the whoops of little boys filled the seems everyone was done with the festivals...and it turns out we all have similiar needs...especially in New England...

1 comment:

  1. I have similar gripes about many of the so called HarborFests or Oyster Festivals. They were originally created to raise money or draw attention to the towns waterfront, maritime history etc. But too many of them have just become merchandising and food fairs; some are even carnivals. The original intent has become secondary. Some of them have nothing to do with the water.