Children of the Corn?

crows over a cornfieldIt was late on a Sunday at the discount drugstore, the right kind of night for conversation between a lone clerk and her one customer.

The customer was pointing to the cover photo of a fall magazine displayed on the counter. It showed a jack o’lantern fashioned from a regular old pumpkin, but with twin rows of perfect little fangs and two large eyeballs hanging by a seeming thread from the two ocular orbits carved in the pumpkin’s big orange ‘face’.

 “Who carves a jack-o’-lantern this perfectly?” she asked.

 “Right,” said the cashier, also looking at the image. “You’d need to use a scalpel to carve that precisely!” 

“AND be Michelangelo!” said the customer

“Right!” said the cashier, ringing in a few of the customer’s items. 

“I know it’s almost October but I’m just not ready for this all the autumn stuff,” said the customer, still studying the magazine cover.

“Totally,” said the cashier. “I feel bad,” she added.  “I haven’t done any fall stuff in years. When’s the last time I went apple picking?”

“I don’t think I’ve EVER been apple picking, not in the real way where you pay money to do it,” said the customer. “All I know about apple picking is from that Robert Frost poem where even in his sleep he still feels the rungs of the ladder against his insteps.”

“I bet it’s been ten years since I’ve carved a pumpkin,” said the cashier.

“The squirrels just eat them anyway,” said the customer. “What a sight it was the last time I came upon that ruined cranium. I felt like I’d stumbled onto the set of The Walking Dead.”

“How about doing a corn maze?”  the customer then said. “Have you ever done that?”

“No, you know I never have,” said the cashier. “What’s it like?”

“Well this whole corn maze thing was new to me until I about three years ago,” said the customer.

“And was it fun, making your way through it?” asked the cashier.

“Sure,” said the customer. “Well, actually no, it wasn’t that fun,” she interrupted herself to say.  “A corn maze is really kind of hard. You get lost.”

“Is the corn that tall?”

“The corn is SO tall! And it got cold. And then the sun went down.”

“Jeez!” said the cashier. “It sounds like that old  Stephen King movie Children  of the Corn?”



“Let’s never do a corn maze!” said the customer.

“I won’t if you won’t,” smiled the cashier, and handed her her bagged purchase.  

And with that the customer departed the store, glad for the merry exchange and resolving to carve up a few pumpkin heads anyway this fall, those frisky squirrel squads notwithstanding.

cronfield at dusk



Today I’m Keeping my Focus Close

I’m keeping my focus in close today I think – not much past my own front yard in fact.

I need the rest.

So this is what I see these days, on the frosty autumn mornings.

I see the milky morning light as it plays on the landscape. We live on the corner so we get a good a good look around at things.

I note that the ivy is growing on our house again. How hard it was to see it all stripped off last year so the painters could paint! It’s coming back now, if slowly. It’s about up to my head where it climbs the chimney with those tenacious tendrilled fingers.

I see that the birds are vying for the last berries on the hawthorn tree…..

I see all this.

And I see these stalks of oat grass if that is even oat grass, bought at Whole Foods the people who would sell you back the dirt under your shoes if they could figure out how to get it away from you long enough for to mark it up in true Whole Paycheck style.

Still, it’s pretty, the oat grass.

I see my pumpkin, nibbled even more that it was last week by this little guy and his pals, all seeking to plump up before the real cold comes.

And speaking of the real cold, something special happened yesterday morning: The ginkgo tree lost all its leaves within an hour’s time, as is its custom.

Here is what it looks like. I just love seeing – and hearing – this happen every year. What is the ginkgo’s lesson for us do you think.