[caption id="" align="alignright" width="369"] Llama obstacle course[/caption]
Harvest season has begun. Festival season has begun. Over the weekend I did as I always do for the first harvest: I went to the county fair.
The first thing we came across was the llama obstacle course, which is where the title of the post comes from. It was a 4H event, like many of the agricultural events, and I was impressed by the interaction between humans and llamas.
I had my fortune read by Zoltar, which is a form of divination I use specifically to seek guidance from Professor Dark. I passed the midway but didn't ride anything this year; the baby complicated it a bit. We visited the livestock, the bees, and the old-fashioned farm equipment and machinery. We ate fair food. We talked to the 4H and the Girl Scouts.
The apex of Fair-as-First-Harvest, in my opinion, is the growing competition. Flowers, fruits and vegetables are harvested, gathered, tagged and judged. Some of them win ribbons. Someone is best in show.
All of them are dead before the first judge sets eye on them.
I prefer to visit the fair on the first weekend if I can, because by the second weekend, inevitably time and Hel have taken their toll. Of course, this can assist you in a meditation on the death in the harvest, especially if you honor the sacrifice of the Lord of Plenty at this time of year. Hundreds of farmers - hundreds of thousands across the country - offer up their first and their finest to the judges and to Death. The rest of us look on and honor the sacrifice and appreciate the ritual.
Eventually, of course, it's all harvested. But there's a difference between rounding up all of your apples for the market and choosing the finest apple to enter into the county fair. It is the very best that is offered, and just as may happen at our own deaths, we are judged and found exemplary or wanting.