September has soared along, October is almost upon us, and it is most definitely the season for blogs to fill with pictures of turning leaves, rich hot chocolates, crisp mornings and hearty food. I love these seasonal offerings, and the next month or two would not feel complete without putting together one or two of my own!
On Harvest: my favourite festival…
We have such a rich world, one that produces, sustains and enriches life in all its diversity. What we gain from the natural world, when we pause to consider it, is mind-blowing.
Harvest time – considered outdated by many – is an opportunity to celebrate all of this. It’s not just about ‘cauliflowers fluffy and cabbages green’, as the familiar children’s song goes, but so much more than that: coffee beans, cotton, diamonds, salt, wood, flowers, spices, water, power – these are just some of the raw materials that we harvest for food, drink, shelter, clothing, flavour, beauty and enjoyment. The earth continues to spin around the sun, and in spite of us, it continues in its vitality.
In our little world in Devon, we can see this all around us. Last week, Andrew used the chickens’ eggs to create pasta, quiche, poached egg breakfasts and cakes. So many meals from such a simple ingredient! Throughout the week I’ve been picking tomatoes and lettuce from the greenhouse and cutting herbs to add flavour to our meals. These small ‘harvests’ offer glimpses to the glory of a globe that produces life in all climates, and they cause me to be thankful and glad, to believe in a Creator who knew what He was doing.
It saddens me to think that even in the UK there are hungry children, people who are lonely, those without homes – and abroad there is sheer suffering where people just don’t have enough. We need to wake up to the fact that as Western consumers we have the power to affect this. It’s why I’m so passionate about buying Fair Trade and knowing where products we buy have been made. There are resources in some of the poorest countries, but often growers and workers are being kept in poverty by our Western demand for low prices, our lack of interest in where and how what we buy started out.*
So for me, Harvest is inevitably a time, not just for the celebration of all we have, but for sharing and giving and remembering. A time to show an interest in the situations of others, because interest births care and compassion. It’s not about guilt, but awareness: a triple-sided awareness of all the goodness we have and all the goodness being witheld from others, and all the goodness we can give. It is a hopeful season, and one whose lessons can perhaps stay with us throughout the year.
Thank you God for eggs and tomatoes and lettuce and bread and butter.
Thank you for family around a table.
Thank you for beauty and awe.
Thank you for life.
Bring goodness where it is withheld, plenty where there is need, equality and fairness in our rich world.
*Image of Tea Growers found via Pinterest