Falling Back, 32. October is Looking to November.
It is definitely getting cooler now. Today I had to wear jeans, my normal winter clothing, and put aside my lightweight pants. I also had to wear a t-shirt with a shirt over it, because it was quite chilly.
The leaves on the vineyard are almost all yellow, and starting to tumble to the ground. Now, there's more light at the back of the house, under the arbor. The fruit has gone, except a few, recalcitrant grapes, and the feijoas that are falling to the ground. Fall has definitely installed itself.
It's time to start thinking about the flowers for All Saint's Day, and All Soul's Day. Every year, I order some arrangements to take to the cemeteries, and make some others myself. Every year, I keep forgetting until the middle of October to put in my order with the local florist. This year, I am too late. He told me he wasn't taking any more orders because he's not hiring helpers this year, thanks to the virus. Unfortunately, my husband told me that other florists are also up to their eyeballs, and not taking more orders. I'll have to resort to practicing my talents at flower arrangements.
I am not an expert, however, and the large arrangements that I generally order will have to be small. I don't know if flowers will be more or less expensive this year, but they will still be more expensive than at other moments. A package of normal little chrysanthemums tend to run around ten euros. Roses are two euros or more, each. Specialty flowers can run to three, four, or five euros a piece. Greenery also costs, but I forget how much; it also depends on the type of greenery. Then, the pots and the sponge to keep the flowers fresh as long as possible. I will be all Halloween day arranging, and transporting. Normally, I'm just transporting and arranging one small arrangement I always make myself.
Every year we visit the cemeteries at dull moments during the afternoon of November 1st, when most people are still at home, eating. This year, we might go even earlier, to avoid the crowds. A lot of people tend to go at nightfall, to wander in the candlelight and lamplight from the graves. We prefer to ogle the flowers. There are all kinds of arrangements, from the simple, homemade ones, to gorgeous works of art that must have cost a hundred euros, at the least.
Few graves don't have any flowers. Those tend to be the oldest, the ones in the ground. The ones upon which, when they can be read, the dates are up to the middle of the twentieth century. From that point on, graves were built in an upward way, to conserve space. They became like apartment houses, with one flat above the other. Practically all of these have flowers, because if they are full, and someone in the family dies, the ashes of the oldest will be taken out to make room for the new resident. So, above someone who died in the 1970's, you might find someone who died in the 1990's. Instead of just leaving flowers at the latest grave, they put some on each grave.
I really don't like to think about All Saint's Day. I think that's because it ushers in November, one of the brownest, grayest months of the year, and the least likeable. After that, comes December, winter, and Christmas. This last holiday has lost its enchantment for me with all the commercialization that has been carried out in the past twenty years. The good thing is that once the holidays are past, we are into the worst of winter, and spring lies just ahead.