People who work the land are in the fields day and night now to bring in the harvest. My memories of growing up are anchored in this chaotic, exciting, sleepless and sacred season in the life of a farmer's family. It didn't always seem so great at the time but witnessing the work of sowing, nurturing, growth, harvest and rest from spring through fall to spring again, year after year, gave me a template for living.
In my little garden right now, harvest means picking and cooking green beans for dinner, gathering beets and onions (many) and purple carrots (not many) and cucumbers and tomatoes (not many) to eat, freeze or put in the dye-pot. Harvesting is collecting sunflower heads to dry and store in a paper bag for the birds when the weather gets cold. It's cutting comfrey leaves and calendula flowers to dry for body oils and healing salves....and it's gathering basil for pesto, grapes for juice and elderberries for syrup. Harvest has really only just begun.
After I baked a batch of beets the other day, recipe here, I 1) peeled and cut them up to freeze; 2) poured the delicious leftover oil and juices from the baking dish into a little jar for future vegetable or salad dressing; 3) used the peelings to make a dye-bath for a bundled silk scarf.
It is a good feeling to actually use all parts of something for a change.
I think the recipe said a 4-year-old could make it and that is probably true. Don't let that sway you though, it's still very good.
John Barleycorn is an age-old British folk song about the harvest of grain crops for bread and drink. Like bread and beer recipes, there are many versions, I love the words, and it's harvest time after all.
On an inner level, harvest means choosing what to take with you into the future. We have a choice on what and how much to carry forward as we enter these next darker, slower months of short days and long nights. We, and only we, get to decide what sustains us in meaningful ways as we go deeper. By the act of choosing what is wanted and needed, we automatically leave behind the unnecessary and don't even need to give it a second thought. Being "for" something rather than "against" something is empowering.
I like to travel lightly this time of year. How about you? xx