From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier – October 2, 2014
Noah could barely contain his excitement as another tote full of fall decorations was opened. His heart fell a bit, though, when he saw its contents: candy corn lights, ceramic pumpkins and maple leaf garland. Being that it was nearly October, my son’s sights were set on far more exciting fare: skeletons, spiders and goblins! Sadly, Mom said that he would need to wait awhile; the Halloween tote only comes out after the first of October. Halloween has its time, but in our house, the theme of late September is “Harvest.”
Wanting to get in the spirit of the season, I recently walked out to our front stoop to admire the harvest display that my wife had assembled. Of course, this same display had been the source of much consternation when I discovered how much she’d spent on it … but I couldn’t complain. The beautiful variety of pumpkins, gourds and seasonal vegetables she had put together was a perfect symbol of the season’s hearty bounty.
Standing on the stoop, I could tell we weren’t the only ones who felt that way; the “bounty” had been almost entirely devoured by squirrels! There are many things I enjoy about the harvest season, but the sad sight of those chewed-out gourds (and the expensive mess I’d now have to clean up) was a quick reminder of the many things I don’t!
Cleaning out gutters, for instance, is one of my fall pet peeves. The dreaded task of climbing a ladder on a chilly day to scoop cold, wet leaves into a bucket may be necessary preparation for winter, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it! And speaking of winter, anyone who’s been trapped in his driveway after the first December blizzard can tell you that the best time to get the snowblower in working order is actually mid-fall.
I’m also not a fan of ripping out all the annuals and vegetable gardens at the end of their summery lives. And raking leaves is nobody’s favorite chore! (At least Clarendon Hills makes disposing of them relatively easy; there’s no sticker needed for lawn refuse pickup in October.)
Now, don’t get me wrong. I may seem like a grumpy homeowner who sees fall as nothing more than a long list of outdoor chores. (If I were, I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one!) But in my mind, the harvest season goes far beyond that.
The real magic of this season is apparent in the name itself: harvest! We suburbanites may not think about fall as a time to reap what we’ve sown, but our midwestern farming ancestors certainly did. After a long year of working hard to till fields and plant seeds, they saw fall as the time to reap all the rewards of their labors, cutting the grains and crops and preparing the soil for the next season. Then, with the hard work finished and their food source secured, they could finally relax.
With that in mind, I like to think of fall as a time to slow down, look back on the hard work and busyness of the summer and begin preparation for the good times ahead. A bulk of the work has been completed and we can now prepare for the holidays, spring vacations and the coming year. It’s a time of reflection, relaxation and plans for a fresh start. (How appropriate that it’s also time to plant the bulbs for spring blooming seasons, including one of my favorites: the tulip!)
How about you? Is this your season for slowing down? There are plenty of Harvest Festivals going on throughout the burbs to get you into the mood — including some that feature local craft brews! (Now there’s a part of Harvest I love!)
As for our house: October finally came, and the spooky stuff flew out of that Halloween tote quicker than you could say “Ghost stories!” Noah remembered why he liked this particular bag: it contained an electric skull with dry ice smoke oozing from the eye sockets and a furry, window-sized spider that shakes and gyrates with an obnoxious human laugh.
Harvest may have only just arrived … but the next holiday is already around the corner.
Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad; a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker. Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills. It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings. He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry’s office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com