At some point, a pretty girl who was also out wandering by herself saw the light glancing off my eyes as I looked up at the huge moon and said, "Nice, isn't it?" Girls on Gabriola, especially the hippy girls, of which Gabriola has a large population, tend not to be too afraid of old guys they bump into out on a dark country road at night.
I said, "Yeah, it's a harvest moon tonight."
She looked at me quizzically, like we had known each other for years, and said, "What exactly is a harvest moon?"
"Well," I said, as if I were an older relative of hers, "it's nothing special really, just the full moon that happens to be the closest to the autumn equinox, which is September 22nd, I think."
"Oh!" She looked up at it again. Then she cocked her head with that same quizzical look and said, "Why do you know all this about it?"
We were both warming to our little conversation out there in that eerily-bright light and cool evening scent of fall. So I told her the whole story. "My father grew up on a homestead out on the prairie in Alberta. All they had was grain crops and a little hay. At harvest time, somebody who owned a big threshing machine would move it onto each farm, one after the other, as soon as the grain was ready to harvest. All the guys from all the farms would come in with their wagons and teams of horses and work as late into the night as they possibly could, throwing all the sheaves of grain onto their wagons and then line them up at the threshing machine and toss them in, to separate the seeds from the straw, and then they would head back out to bring more in, and keep at it into the night until they either fell asleep standing up or that farm was all done. Then they would move the threshing machine to the next farm, and so on, and try to get all the farms done before it rained. They would do it all day and then into the night during the harvest moon and during as many nights as they could see well enough on each side of the harvest moon to get it all done as quickly as possible."
She listened intently, then said, "Wow. So now I know." And she gave me a big smile and walked off down the road into the night.