The harvest is upon us. The first frost warnings are going out. The equinox has past and it is officially Autumn.
There is something about September, about the harvest, about beginnings and endings that touches my heart. In the whole of there year it is at this time when I am most aware that everything is a circle, a cycle.
We have much of the grains in,the apples are ripening each variety in its turn and after the frost can start on the wine grapes. The pumpkins and other winter squashes begin to make their appearance in the grocery stores. It is a time of bounty where anything is possible and everything is ripe and available.
But it is an ending time as well. The summer is truly gone (although we need that frost to mark a true Indian Summer). The leaves are beginning to turn and slowly fall from the trees. This is the week from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur the high holiday of the Jewish calendar. The New Year and also a time of atonement and forgiveness.
Truly harvest is about choice. When do you gather in your crops? What do you chose to use immediately, what to use soon, and what to pack up in freezing or canning for the winter ahead? What do you keep for yourself and what do you let go, either back to compost, to seed or to sell?
The metaphor of the harvest may have meant more when our culture was closer to our agricultural roots, but it is still applicable. It is a time for review. A time to make choices. A time to review one’s live and to make adjustments to get on “the right course.” It is time to rid yourself of excess baggage. Throw away the summer clothes that are too worn to make it through another season, dust off the old winter coats and see if they were stored well or if they too need replacing.
The baggage comes in relationships too, and hence the Jewish tradition of asking forgiveness for one’s wrongful actions. It is in September that we realize that summer romance isn’t going to last. It is in September that we begin to fret about starting that diet in preparation for November’s feasting.
What treasures from the year are you choosing to take with you into the winter, and what things have come to the end of their usefulness? What behaviors do not serve your greater purpose? Where can you make “adjustments” to the course of your life? Are there people that you have wronged that would appreciate an attempt to make things right?