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.