The chilly gray days gave way to sunshine yesterday, so we headed into town with many of our neighbors to celebrate autumn on the town square. Booths were set up for selling handcrafted soaps, jewelry, woodcrafts, needlecrafts, and homegrown vegetables and honeys, along with decorations for fall.
We met a man from Ecuador who now lives in Madison, but travels to his homeland to gather lovely woolen goods, and jewelry made from native seeds and nuts. His friendliness and the time he happily shared telling us about his homeland burnished the encounter and made it memorable.
There is an elderly man who always comes to these events and sells a sweet-salty popcorn called “kettle corn,” a traditional indulgence when something’s happening on the square. And, of course, many dogs enjoyed the day with their humans. This one sat placidly despite the merry fiddling a few feet away.
A simple sweet day, in a very small town, in an often misdirected world spinning away its life in our universe. It wasn’t really about shopping; for once the gathering wasn’t driven by the disease of consumption. If money was spent, it was very little compared to the value of experienced community and the shared and ancient celebration of changing seasons and life’s rhythms flowing through generations.
We can be energized by our differences, fed by our angers, made sleepless by our worries. We project and detail, judge and exaggerate, loudly publicize and vehemently argue about how, every day, someone else gets it wrong.
A day like today reminds us that sometimes we–all of us, together–can get this gift of being human perfectly right.
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