Season Change

My daughter and her friend were been hired for the afternoon to harvest pumpkins.

That afternoon, picking up the girls at the farm, I stood talking for awhile with the couple, whom I’ve known since my oldest daughter was a toddler. They showed me the sunflowers they had managed to save from the frost by covering. The flowers, I could see, were not long for living.

Bundled in sweaters and sweatshirts, we stood talking in the late afternoon sunlight. The couple was appreciative of my daughter and her friend — how the girls’ hard work boosted the boys’ output. I laughed, watching the girls walk towards me, out of the field, holding gloves in their hands, talking with each other.

I remembered those long-ago summer and fall days, when I had worn this child on my back while I sold maple syrup and homemade ice cream. Her little fingers reached over my shoulder, looking for snacks.

The couple’s son drove up on a tractor, a father now himself. As I drove back to our warm house, baking lasagne and apple crisp, I kept thinking of how that couple would give my youngest a tiny pumpkin every year at the farmers’ market. She would carry that orange squash in her two hands, like treasure.

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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