October’s dazzling, late light

October 30th, 2011

Mums for Toussaint

Suddenly, as October’s days grow shorter, the village is an animated scene of Toussaint preparations.  Both grocery shops are hives of mum-choosing activities as chrysanthemums are selected to be placed on family graves during All Saints’, the annual observance of honoring the dead.  Children are on hand to help choose, and the grocery staff is pressed into hauling armloads of flowers to awaiting open trunks.  Huge pots of mums in golden and deep russet tones are banked in front of shops, but smaller plants of delicate heather in white, mauve and pink are also favorites.  Although All Saints’ Day is November first, two weeks of run-up animate the last days of October across provincial France.  And what about Hallowe’en?  The culture hasn’t embraced the spooks and witches, though some commercial efforts – and bakery specialties – may be spotted in towns here and there.  So, as the vagabond reads the Sunday paper on her blue porch, she muses on Hallowe’ens past, of little witches, princesses and big ghosts that were at my door years ago.  And of the persistence of tradition…in the last glowing days in autumn.

Cyclamen thriving on the blue porch

Next up:  Surprise from the market…Palomb in season