A Tribute

(October 9, 2004)  When autumn comes to Skaneateles, there are magical days when the lakeshore, the parks, the fine homes, the quaint shops and even the cheery passers-by all smell of manure. I’m not sure which way the wind has to be blowing or whose farm is setting the tone, but I have to say that whoever and wherever, they have a champ manure-spreader and are surely dressing the fields with only the richest, ripest fruit of the herd. It is a tangible tribute to their commitment to the recycling of nutrients.

Likewise, everyone in the Village deserves credit for pretending it’s not happening, for shouting out “Beautiful day!” instead of “Holy Cow!” But even in denial, we must be grateful for this tonic, this agrarian sachet, this farmyard nosegay, for leading us away from the temptation to think of ourselves as grander than we actually are. That just can’t happen when the day is being painted by John Deere raising a black rooster-tail of nitrogen, phosphates and potash, and everything smells like the bottom of an unlucky shoe.


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