Honoring The Harvest In August

By Deb Philp

My vegetable garden is not having a good year. The only things that haven't been eaten to sticks by grasshoppers are the Adirondack rocks which manage to pop up through layers of compost in my raised beds. Since rocks are hard on the teeth no matter how long I cook them, I'm glad for the local farmer's markets and grocery stores which allow my family to enjoy August's bounty anyway.

August is the time of Lughnasadh, the ancient festival of Lugh, the great Celtic Sun King. The first harvest of grains and fruits was celebrated with feasting, market fairs, games and community bonfires. It is a time of thanksgiving for what has grown. Underlying the joyousness of the harvest, however, is an acknowledgment that the sun is beginning to wane and the time of growth is nearing an end.

A poor harvest, like mine, would mean a hard winter for those folks, yet they would celebrate and give thanks for whatever they had. And, even if it meant they had even less for the winter, seeds were saved for planting the following spring. They knew that, whether glorious or sparse, the present harvest holds the seeds of all future growth.

The turning of the seasons reminds me that growth is not endless. In each cycle, whether it's days or years, there is a time of fullness, followed by a time of enjoying whatever abundance has been reaped. Like the corn cut down at its peak, once the desires I have been cultivating have manifested, or, like a poor harvest, failed to manifest, their time is over. What is left is lessons learned and the question “what is next?” I invite you to take some time, perhaps while on your yoga mat, while outside enjoying a warm, if not slightly shorter, summer day, or while partaking in a feast from the farmer's market, to look back with thankfulness at what you have achieved or manifested in your life. Look back also, with the same gratitude, at your disappointments. In both are the seeds of what's ahead for you.

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