Monday, September 29, 2008

The close of Summer. Harvest Home.

The tall waving grasses of summer are ragged now, or beaten to the ground by the early fall rains. Because this is the mild West Coast, a new fresh green blur of sprouting seeds covers the once dusty soil. The maple leaves are still mostly green except where a tree has taken root in rocky ground and whose yellow leaves tell of summer drought. This is the season when some put on a final spurt of growth before the winter and others fall to dissolution: their seeds spread and their task complete.

Heather has been busy too all summer harvesting in our garden: freezing, bottling and drying. We picked some grapes today. Yesterday we walked down the road to a wild blackberry patch and gathered amid the prickles. Next week we pick the pears before the racoons can get them and the work of harvest will be complete. Heather stands in the basement looking up at row upon row of bottled fruit, pickles and jams with a satisfied smile.

I have had my list of seasonal duties too : the chimneys are swept, the firewood, cut and stacked to dry in the woods last winter, is now in my woodshed and starting to diminish until next Spring. Roofs are swept, gutters cleaned and repaired. Those potatoes I planted in early Spring are now being harvested as needed, the winter kale is strong and healthy. We are prepared for winter.

All this work! Don`t we take a break, a holiday in the best season of the year? Would n`t we be better off to just buy what we need when we need it? Like civilized people? The answer is that no we would not and that this work we do on our land with our hands is not work in the modern sense of the term. Neither is it the opposite, fun. It is recreation though, as in re-creation. We are following an ancient human pattern and getting deep satisfaction from our labours. We get to enjoy the results all winter long.

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