It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn.
It has been autumn in Calgary now for a couple of weeks. People who grow their own food are busy gathering and preserving, preparing for the coming months. It is the most abundant time of year, set against the transient energy of the shifting seasons.
It is impossible not to be grateful during harvest. The earth rewards our long energy and attention with the ability to sustain ourselves over the coming months. It’s the overflow and the onslaught, as glorious and heavy as anything can be. There is time to celebrate, but not before immense work is done.
The sun is setting earlier and we are awake well past, not quite ready to heed the call and turn inward, slow down, rest. The mystery of when winter is coming begins to loom, only tingeing our distant memories. We chop and season, can and freeze; it’s boiling pots and steamy kitchens. Dehydrators whir. Plants hang upside-down, drying.
We share. We exchange recipes and ferments, sauces poured thoughtfully through funnels into jars, handing them to friends. Remember me in the winter.
Today I ate the soup made from ingredients from my fellow gardeners, the people with whom I share growing space in the middle of my community. It was a response to a call from one of us to bring something to share, a call and an act from a family who understand how to weave us together. As we worked beside each other, pulling toward our communal goal, one of our friends prepared the soup, made of something from each of us. A reminder that our efforts are amplified if they are in concert with others. This soup, both a meal and a connection, to each other but also over time and space, a connection to our ancestors, to everyone who has ever lived. We all need to eat. This soup, in this place, with these people. Profound nourishment. This is harvest.