Saturday, September 1, 2018

Ernte festival

The village is very much alive on the day of the Ernte Festival.

The days get noticeably shorter, the mornings are suddenly very cool and misty and everyone is aware that this year's summer is about to be over, never to return. Some days are still very sunny and warm, but the light is somehow filtered, golden, foreshadowing the colors of the fall.

It's the end of the summer. On one of the very last sunny days, everyone goes out to celebrate and pretend for a few hours that this will last, and last forever. It's a happy day for the community.

The harvest of the "Ernte", a hard and muddy turnip, is completed. This small root-fruit is as highly nutricious as it is ugly and everyone collects a stock of them in the deep basements of their thick walled houses.

Soon heavy rains will scourge the barren lands all day before the snow arrives, it will be cold, and only nearby neighbours will see each other during the week when necessary and some will meet in church on Sundays but otherwise most will be hunkered down in their homes for the long hard winter.

The best looking tractors are cleaned and polished, cars are decorated with the wealth the farmland has yielded and everyone gets on board for a jubilant ride through the village.

Everyone is smiling, even though some, especially the elderly, are silently mindful of the fact that not everyone will be there when spring finally arrives again, sometime next year.

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