The ground has been kissed by the harvest moon.
They put their hands into the rich earth – dark, moist loam, which clung to the vegetables while it caked under their fingernails – and dug at the hills of firm potatoes. They pulled the limp stalks – were satisfied when the bulky vegetables came out of the ground and rolled to a stop by their feet.
They shook the roots, loosening clods of earth and any remaining potatoes, then threw the dead plants onto a pile at the end of the row.
They scraped the excess dirt from the vegetables, placing the large ones into a barrel, and the smaller – even tiny – ones into a basket.
They wasted nothing.
They dug further with a hoe to make sure none were missed.
They paused by the remaining tomato plants, and picked the full fruit. Perhaps over-ripe, yet the sun warmed skin was firm
enough, and they ate the red flesh with pleasure, letting seeds and juice gush to the ground.
They smiled at each other as they ate, wiped the back of their hands across their reddened lips at the same time, and dried their damp, muddy fingers on the legs of their pants.
They stood and pondered by the onions, which they had been taking from the field for months. They plant and replant, but there are few left with tops that have not fallen over. They pull about half, but leave the rest for a couple of weeks and the whims of the gods.
They loosened the earth and marvelled in the strong, healthy smell which each carrot released from the good ground. They left the green leaves on the crown to feather from the tops of their baskets.
Occasionally, one of the orange vegetables would branch into a pair of walking legs. Or even form a strange, running monster which clung fast to the earth.
Some were so thick, that forefinger and thumb could not encircle them. Each was carefully drawn from the nourishing land, so slender tips would not break and mar the beauty of the perfect whole.
They brushed against the brittle leaves as they checked upon the pumpkins growing among the corn stalks. They tapped the largest of the full, orange fruit, and were pleased at the hefty girth. They saw some could ripen further, and plotted when the time would be best to gather them.
They broke one medium-sized pumpkin free from its dying vines, and put it aside to have with their evening meal.
As they walked through the withered corn stalks, they were surprised to find an occasional ear that – although small – was ripe and full enough to eat. Overlooked when the others were plucked, they had struggled to a humble maturity.
These were also gratefully gathered, and together would afford them one last taste of sweet corn. As they husked their unexpected bonus, they listened to the wind rustle through the dry corn plants.
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