Friday, November 4, 2011

Bringing in the Sheaves

I recently enjoyed the rare privilege of a solitary trip to the Beaverton Farmers’ Market.
I adore autumn, with all its old-fashioned little rituals.


Drawing in the last of the harvest…

Cleaning out the busy summer’s clutter and preparing home and hearth for winter…

Celebrating the end of harvest and joy of plenty with harvest time feasting and merriment…

Putting up and stocking up for the long, cold winter to come…

Slowing down from summer and preparing for the busy holiday season…

As I walked around the market on this seasonably chilly and breezy morning, I was struck by how different the energy around me seemed from the opening markets in the spring or even the high summer markets of only a few weeks past. The weather was different of course and the trees were now arrayed in their Technicolor best.  But the shift that I sensed was less tangible than that. The mood was cheerful, but a bit subdued from the exuberance and abundance of summer. The crowds were thinner. The farmers were friendly and helpful as ever, but perhaps a bit mellower, as though they were road-weary travelers, approaching home from a long, eventful journey.


As I filled up my bag to the brim with apples, pears, delicata squash, broccoli, potatoes, a few carrots and grapes, I reflected on the deep, abiding ties between humans and the changing seasons.

Here in the suburbs, I often feel divorced from nature, as I’m sure many people do. But I find it interesting that even if you’re not the type to spend a Saturday morning shopping an outdoor market and indulging in philosophical musings, everyone seems to feel a bit nostalgic for the need to bring in the harvest – even though the vast majority of us aren’t directly responsible for the reaping and storing of crops any longer.

Even in our virtually non-stop society, where our lives carry on pretty much as usual, with no thought given to quaint concerns such as “season,” autumn brings to mind the little traditions that link our very modern lives to the celebrations of yore –

Hay rides…

Drinking fresh-pressed apple cider…

Choosing pumpkins straight from the farmers’ fields…

Preparing our families’ favorite seasonal foods at home…

Even die hard city dwellers will find themselves pining for a visit to the farm in October. It’s fascinating to me that despite all our efforts at “modernization” and our attempts to grant nature as little influence over our busy lives as possible, we seem to have some sort of primal instinct that calls us back to the land at harvest time.

By and by the harvest and the labor ended,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
-Knowles Shaw, 1874


Rebekah Pike is most happy with her nose in a book and enjoys making the most of her pint-sized, apartment kitchen. After leaving her job in media production to become a full-time mommy, she began exploring the sustainable living movement and reconnected with the back-to-the-earth ideals of her hippie parents. In 2005, her love of Oregon’s rugged outdoors led to a summer job as a camp counselor, where she met her husband, Darian. Most of their time is spent chasing after their two year old daughter, Ashlynn, and doing serious “research” at restaurants, coffee shops and markets around Portland.

2 comments:

Puddin said...

I'm always happy to read posts where people say they are getting 'reconnected' with nature. I've lived here in the country in the boot-shaped Peninsula in Europe for about 36 years. The olive grove embraces our home, the land thrives under the caring hands of my husband who has the most incredible green thumb...getting ready for the olive harvest! As soon as the monsoon stops...we'll be getting in the olives from our 150 trees! Autumn in my area means olive nets and olive harvest, squash harvest(this year butternut) and of course, for those of us who still have one - GRAPE harvest and new wine. It is all part of the CONNECTION which we have with nature...here as where you all are! hey from the WEST PORTICO, P

Holly said...

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Listening to the crunch of leaves beneath my feet and the smell of rot is a spiritual experience for me. I grew up in Wisconsin on a dairy farm and moved to Portland, OR 4 years ago. Even without snow or a large property to grow a garden, I still feel that hunkering down for the winter and need to stock the pantry. I wonder if folks from warmer climates without distinct seasons still have that instinct?

http://simplyresourceful.blogspot.com/

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...