Fall Waning Harvest Moon
Went out and picked raspberries for pancakes this morning. With a definite chill in the air the garden felt different, a bit sleepy, ready to bed down for the cold season. After a month or so of feeling burdened by it, wanting it to disappear, my spring affection reappeared. This patch of earth, these beds, work together with the plant world and Kate and me. We share a joint stewardship of this property, each in our way committed to making it healthy, beautiful and bountiful.
The soil has given of its nutrients, its water holding capacity, its sturdiness as a base for roots and stems. The plants have combined the chemicals of the soil with that water and pushed themselves up and out of the earth, then blossomed and in many cases fruited. Kate and I weed, tend the soil, watch the plants, picking bugs off of them, pruning, replanting. We also harvest and, when the harvest ends, we replenish the soil with composted manure and mulch.
When we use the plants and their produce, we take the leaves and stems and other unwanted parts and put them in a compost bin to return to the soil.
This complicated working partnership among many different parties here is, in microcosm, the partnership we humans have with the natural world and the world of soils, air, water and sunshine. It’s significant to note that the one unnecessary party to this the work is the human race.
Plants will grow. Rain will fall. The sun will shine. Soils will improve. Fruits and vegetables will be made and distributed, all whether humans enter in or not. We exist only as part of a richly integrated chain of being and we exist as its wards, not benefactors.
We do have the capacity to intervene, but too often, far too often, when we do intervene, we disrupt what nature does willingly and foul the process, in the end harming ourselves.
I wish our gardens and our orchard were more than supplements to our diet, but that is all they are, to be otherwise would require a commitment to the work I no longer feel able or willing to give. Even so, as a supplement, this growing of flowers, potatoes, tomatoes, beets, carrots, leeks, beans, onions, lettuce, chard, spinach and peas, this caring for bees and harvesting honey, does keep us intimately engaged as partners with the natural world, a partnership so often hidden from view in this, the most capitalistic of all possible worlds.