The summer brings out just about everyone to the Farmer's Market. But once the light is amber with autumn's gilding the crowd subsides. Between fall and spring the market is owned by the regulars again. It's a lazier, more peaceful time. Parking is easy and elbows are rare.
I know the faces and, I suppose, the faces know me. Many of us have been spending our Sunday mornings together for more than twenty years. I note how the faces have changed, aged, and mellowed. How is it that they seem to age while I do not? Am I floating in a protected bubble—a different dimension of time and space? Or I am in wrapped in a blanket of denial? I wonder if my anonymous friends notice how much I've aged over the years.
My anonymous friends. I've not ever said a word to any of them. I know nothing about them except within the context of market baskets and floppy hats. We choose our beans, tomatoes, and strawberries. We mingle, we pass, we sometimes exchange rare glances. Mostly we float past one another, alone in thought. The market is our unspoken connection, our way of spending Sunday.
The orange pumpkins stand out in the drabness of November's market. The choices become more meager and less saturated in color. My anonymous friends are bundled up, cheeks as rosy as spring's first strawberries. We count the days to the first crop of asparagus. But the asparagus brings back the crowds. And the asparagus marks the passing of yet another year.
Asparagus and spring will come more quickly than ever next year. As they shed their winter garb I'll observe again that my friends are still getting older. I suppose they notice the same about me.