First day of Autumn

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I have never liked Autumn.

The copper, dark yellow, brown leaves that fell from the trees... makes me feel like nature is dying.
The naked trees, no flowers, no birdsongs... everything cheerful is gone.
I know, it will all come back next Spring... but... I don't like Fall. It's my least favourite season. Since I can remember.
     When I was little, Autumn was full of rain and mud. We had to collect corn, potatoes, beetroots (to make sugar), grapes and everything we've grown during the Summer. So much to do, so little time... and, mostly school.
     We've never skipped school, our parents were very severe regarding that. School came always first, no matter what.
But I wouldn't have missed it for the world! I loved school.
Saturdays were the busiest days.
      We didn't work on Sundays. No way. It's the God's day. It was prohibited. Unless the communists forced you to go and do your part, or you had a daily job with a contract.
     One of those busy days, my father and I, went to collect beetroots and bring them home.
I was 8 maybe.
We've woken up very early in the morning, around 5, and walked to one of the pieces of land we had (it was ours, the Communists took it from us, but we still had to work and give them all... It's a long story which I will tell another time).
We've worked for hours to take out of the ground the beetroots. We've cleaned and prepared them to be transported.
Towards 5 Pm, a neighbour we've paid came to bring us home.
And the beetroots, especially the beetroots.
He didn't have a truck, but a cart (dray) with one brown horse.
Beautiful being. The horse, not the neighbour.
We've put every single beetroot into the cart, I looked at it and I got really worried.

--- How heavy is that? For one single horse?! Poor animal.
My heart was full of pain.
We had to jump into the cart too. I told my dad that I will walk instead.
--- I don't want the horse to have to carry me too.
My dad objected:
--- Don't be a child and jump on. It's getting dark soon, the house is too far away. Your mum is waiting, hurry up!
"But I am a child and... !
I had no choice. While I was jumping in, I looked at the horse and asked for forgiveness, it wasn't my choice.
My heart was so heavy...
I never liked that. Ever. I would have rather walked for miles through the dark... but it was never the way I wanted.
The horse seemed to not have issues with the weight he was dragging.
We arrived at the bottom of one hill and I got off the cart while it was still going.
My dad got upset, but I knew what was going to happen and I couldn't allow it.
I have seen that happening too many times. No more.
The mass was too heavy to be dragged up to the hill and the neighbour prepared the whip (horsewhip).
I've jumped in front of him with tears on my cheeks and I made an appeal to his humanity.
--- Please, I beg you, don't hit him. It hurts!
Incredulous he looked at me and furiously told my dad.
--- Josef, take her away or I swear to God...
--- Leave her alone, John. She's just a child, she doesn't understand.
I moved aside, John didn't hit the horse as hard as before.
It still hurt the beautiful brown horse and it hurt me... so badly that I started sobbing and I went to push the cart from behind. I wanted to take away some of the burden... If that would have made any difference... .
My dad came close to me and start pushing too.
--- Cristina, he's just an animal. He was born for this.
--- No, he's not! We don't have to hurt him! He's got a heart, you know. He's got flesh and bones as we do. And it hurts when we hit him like it hurts when we get wounded. Why don't you understand this? Look at him, he's exhausted!
--- But how are we supposed to bring the harvest home then? We need to eat in order to survive.
--- In that case, I don't want to eat anymore.
I don't like autumns mostly because of this. We exploit animals, we hit them and they have no guilt. They haven't done anything wrong. We are merciless!!!
Thousands of tears were falling down my red cheeks. I was inconsolable.
--- You'll see when you'll get older, you'll understand then. It's how things go. We have to adapt.
Besides, we work as hard as he does.
--- Yes, but nobody hits us.
--- Not nowadays... but it was like that for humans too.
I looked at my dad, of course he was right. I knew he was, but I was suffering for and with the poor animal who was breathing heavily. You could see how hard he tried. The weight was, at least, 5 times more than his own weight.
My dad was sweating, I was sweating and... next to me it was John all red and tired. He was pushing too.
I didn't get into the cart anymore. I run behind it. It wasn't long until home.
We got there when it was already dark.
The lights were on... Not the bulbs, the candles. The communists cut the electricity again. As every day for years now...
I run to search for my mum, she was working.
--- Mum, how are you feeling? Were you better today?
--- Yes. Where is your dad?
He's outside, he's emptying the cart. They pushed me away, are upset with me.
--- Why? What have you done?
--- Nothing...
I didn't want to tell her, she'll tell me exactly what my father said. They know better, of course.
I went outside. John was gone and I turned to God, "He'd finally eat and rest now. Poor animal! Why did you do that? Why beings have to suffer?! I don't understand. It's above my capacities... You're mean, very mean. You make me cry."
That evening, as every evening for 11 years, I have prayed for that animal and for every person in the Universe, hoping nobody would suffer the next day.
If only...

That's a true story and I cried writing it. Even the memories hurt... Just as that day and many others before/after.

That's one reason I don't like Autumn, The main reason. I can't ignore these memories. Are part of me.


  1. Your sensitivity is out of the ordinary.The way you described this story is truly remarkable. At some point I thought I was there with you and I tried to dry your tears... I felt your pain and it hurt. Poor animal. Wonderful person you are. Just wonderful.

    1. I don't like Autumn either. For different reasons though. You really a great writer. You should write a book. G. X

    2. Thank you, Mary. I really appreciate that. Every time I read this story, on of my stories, I cry as that day. It's like re-living that moment over and over again. Humans can be merciless. With animals and with/between them too. Thanks again.

    3. Thank you, Anoymous or G (?). It means the world to me.

  2. Unbelievable story. Cristina, you are amazing, you truly are. X

    1. It is true though. All true. Thanks, you are too good, Janet.


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