Fragrant Quote for September 11th, 2012 from Scented Grain Harvest

The Last Lode by George Cole Image credit


Scented Grain Harvest

To the man who knows Arcadia as a child knows its mother's face there can be nothing more saddening than the change which has come over the harvest-field during the last 30 years. In the 'sixties it was no uncommon thing—in spite of the gradual inroads which the mechanic and his machines had then made into rural industries—to find a typical old English harvest scene in the corn-yielding districts. As you went about the land what time the air was fragrant with the scent of ripened barley you came across some broad-acred field where the standing corn was being cut in the primitive fashion with scythe and sickle, and where the scene which almost every English landscape painter has striven to depict on canvas, was apparent in its natural truth. You heard the swish of the scythe, the sharp r-rasp of the sickle; you saw men's sun-burnt arms moving in steady circles with the curved shaft of the one, and men's brown hands grasping the trembling corn as the other shore through the brittle straw. There were always women and children about in those days— women tying up the sheaves or busy with rakes— children tumbling about in the hedge-bottoms, or fast asleep at the foot and in the shade of a corn-stook. Men and women and children alike spent their day in the harvest field—ate, drank, slept, laughed, joked, and quarrelled in it, and went home at night when all the hedgerows were white with autumn-presaging dew, and the moon rose ghostlike above the furthest hill, with the scent of harvest clinging about them and the sleepiness born of sun and air filling their whole being.