Thursday, November 3, 2016

After the harvest

With snow having fallen and then melted a few times over the past weeks here in my little corner of Canada, it won’t be long until the big snow comes- the one that keeps our world looking like a snow globe until mid-April or so. Knowing that we won’t see the grassy ground again for several months makes these final late autumn days, brown and leaf-barren as they are, really something to cherish.  It’s fun living with such dramatic seasons where the summers are warm and the winters are cold, very cold!

One of my favourite aspects of autumn here is the harvest; I look forward to it all year.  Although spring is a brighter, more colourful time of the year, harvest is the time of fulfillment, of reaping what we sowed and cared for all through the earlier warmer months. 

This year's harvest was especially precious to me, given how much more effort it took to grow my garden.  In prior years, I could easily walk over to my garden patch, bend down, and slip fine seeds into the rich, deep soil.  This year, with the mobility challenges I’ve been facing, I cannot physically access my garden. 

However, for me, gardening and planting are one of the most enjoyable and fulling parts of my life.  Not planting a garden was categorically not an option. If I couldn’t get my wheelchair to the garden patch, nor bend down to the ground, well, I’d just have to get creative.

So, gardening for me this year took three forms: 

i) I had Eric move several little pots and one big silver tub to a small corner beside our front steps, a place I could access from my wheelchair. I then grew plants in containers.

ii) From the sidelines I instructed Eric, Sam and Joe on planting items in the garden that could not be grown in pots (things like potatoes and pumpkins).  

iii) I cheered with joy when some plants I couldn't reach just came back to life on their own with no coaxing or intervention from me or anyone else (ie dill, apples and raspberries  as well as peppermint and chocolate mint in my tea garden). Isn't it a miracle to watch life flourish all on its own?
Quill on a nighttime prowl

It was great fun....but then again there were
 some abject failures...The pumpkins catastrophically failed in mid August, owing to a fella we named Quill, a rather curious porcupine who delighted us with his evening visits throughout the late summer.  Quill unfortunately thought he might take a fancy to the pumpkins we were growing for Sam's Halloween Jack-O- Lantern... but after biting into them and wrecking them all, Quill decided he wasn't so fond of them after all. He then decided he would instead prefer my raspberries.  Now for the first time ever our raspberries had yielded a good crop.  But overnight they turned into a delicious midnight porcupine snack...

Then there was the Great Squash Flower Identity Mistake. The squash started off strongly and how delighted I was.  Then my birthday arrived in late July. That  was when until "someone" mistook it for a flower and sweetly picked and presented it to me as a birthday bouquet

Nonetheless, when autumn rolled around, we were able to harvest lots of potatoes, onions and dill, and paltry amounts of carrots and tomatoes.  There were also apples, and chocolate and peppermint tea.  

And then the harvest ended. The period of waiting on the cusp of winter began.

And with it, my spirit went quiet.

I suddenly found myself in a time of reflection and ruminating and re-evaluating in my soul.  I felt keenly aware of my failures.   And it wasn't very pleasant.

It's one of the reasons I haven't blogged for the past month: it's hard to write about sunny blog topics such as joy and peace and beauty when the days seem darker and when the failures instead of the successes seem to mount up.

I found myself in a period these past weeks of mourning what used to be.  As autumn rolled around and I was still at home in a wheelchair/ walker instead of going outside on the long creek walks I used to go on all the time; still listening to church via the shut-in phone line instead of physically being in the church sanctuary on Sundays; still struggling with pain instead of being victoriously well and in a healed state-- a period of grief encompassed my soul.  My world has felt pretty black at times.

I prefer to be someone who smiles in the face of adversity, who finds joy in the hard times, who discovers beauty no matter what. It is what typically my blog is all about. However, I've learned that a diverse array of emotions are part of a vibrant and full life, just as there are vast differences in the seasons in this unique climate in which I live.

To always be someone who is perpetually pollyanna-like cheerful is to be someone who is not real, who skims the surface of life.  But to continue to hold on to hope, to continue to reach for grace, to cherish that which has and is growing,  even in the face of what isn't... that is what it means to live fully and richly.

To live richly in all seasons of life is also to remember that after the winter comes and then wanes again, will come the time to time to plant seeds anew, with the hope of harvest in one's heart. 

To everything there is a season..... "a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them..... He (makes) everything beautiful in its time" (Ecclesiastes 3:1-5&9).  


  1. Jenna,

    " To live richly in all seasons of life."

    How I love that thought.

    Thank you for transparently sharing your seasons.

  2. You are an inspiration to me and to many other people.