The First Harvest
The garden is in full bloom with tomatoes, kale and a variety of herbs. Trees are heavy with greenery and the Killdeer birds wake me early with their songs. This morning, it was unusually cool as I sat on the back-porch watching the blue jays frolicking in the large oak tree who’s shade I’ve enjoyed all summer long. The harvest can be felt approaching for those of us who work closely with the seasonal tides. It can be seen as twilight approaches with more haste.
I’ve lived in the Heartland for most of my life, surrounded by farmers. This time of year, the tractors are moving from field to field. If your out early, you know that traffic jams are not the result of too many cars around here. When I see these machines gilded with teeth and claw, I think back to the days when having a garden in the yard was a necessity and people worked it with minimal tools and their bare hands. A grateful feeling wells up in me concerning the comforts of life we enjoy and the privileges that are easily taken for granted.
While I do enjoy the small garden in my back yard, the immediate realization is that it is not necessity. I began a garden to learn a skill and to help me to connect to the Earth. I decided right away not to use pesticides or even tillers. It was me, my daughter, and my partner with rakes, hoes, shovels and a few other hand tools. My body quickly learned how much work was involved doing things “the old fashioned way.”
Many people today live modern lives away from the toils living close to nature. Never-the -less, our lives are still dependent upon the seasonal harvests in one form or another. How can we relate to the seasonal harvest beyond plants and soil? What does the harvest mean to people today living in urban settings?
I like to begin with questions. What work do you do? What direction are you moving in? What steps are you taking and What intention have you set? Harvest are far more than planting seeds. It is the promotion received after years of hard work, saving funds for investing in a future car, it is the student taking steps toward their dreams. A harvest can be in the act of attempting to improve ourselves and our lives in many different facets.
WAYS OF RELATING TO THE SEASON
Although I enjoy summer and I feel some sadness in its ending, I eagerly anticipate the arrival of the Autumn and its shades. The first harvest sets my mind into a reeling motion. I begin to think about the eminent changes of weather, what costume my daughter and I might wear for Halloween, and how I’ll save food from the garden for the Winter season. As a child, I can recall that August was the month my mother took down her large picnic basket from the top of the refrigerator. I’d watch as she packed it with sandwiches, fruit and other goodies. It was still warm enough to visit the lake and sit down at a table for a picnic lunch.
Questions I asked myself when attempting to relate to the harvests were questions like: What is working in my life? What do I need to let go of? What do I need to prepare for the season ahead? During a harvest such as this, when the moon is waning, I review and reconsider relationships, work, projects, choices, and more. If you happen to enjoy a system of divination, reading runes, cards or implementing other tools for guidance is a good idea. This year, my focus for the harvest is the symbol of the sickle. I am ready to cut out what does not serve me, to cleanse myself of “old baggage.” The effort to cleanse is centered in the purpose to clarify intentions and create a more clear vision of what I am working towards in my own life.
In the past, I’ve worked with the season’s energy by baking bread with friends and family and then having it at dinner with everyone. My daughter enjoys playing with salt dough to make creative harvest designs. Working with flour is a way to honor my ancestors, who once relied upon bread as a primary food for survival.
The harvest season is a wonderful time of year to consider the path we are currently on. It is a time to take stock and to enjoy time with those we love. After the intensity of the summer sun fades, I will pull down my own picnic basket from the fridge, pack it with satisfying delights and a small offering for the land spirits. My family and I will drive to the park with filled with trees and a small pond. We will play until we are tired before sitting down to a refreshing drink and outdoor meal. The smiles of my family, cool shade and beauty will be only a few of the things to be grateful for as the sun sets on the Harvest day. Discover the way you relate to the harvest, embrace the season and have a happy celebration!