Finally we’ve had a break in the rain and I pulled up the rest of the carrots, marking the end of the harvest for this year. (That’s 236 carrots all together!)
My freezer is stocked, jars of pickles and tomatoes are lined up, and the cool entryway to the house is cluttered with crates of potatoes, onions and squashes.
I am so grateful for this bountiful harvest, and I wonder if it will be enough.
It’s an unnecessary concern given the great fortune I have every day of the year to an abundance of food at the supermarket. Yet, I can’t help but want there to be enough to get through the winter. Some of that must be human nature, but it also a metaphor. It serves as a reminder for me that I can’t be constantly harvesting and that life requires a time to rest.
Instinctually, as animals, we all know that spring and summer are a time for expansion and growth and that autumn is a time to harvest and get ready to hunker down for the winter. I’ve found that when I pretend I don’t know this and make endless plans this time of year, requiring the energy of summer, my mood and health are worse for it.
Instead, during the winter, I try to slow down, stay home more, give longer hugs, and feel grateful for what I already harvested.
So, the question “will it be enough?” is really much bigger than about whether there’s enough food for winter. It is a question about whether I can be satisfied with where I am, with what I’ve already accomplished, to rest here for a while.
For me, to rest here in this moment, even to slow down, isn’t at all easy. The reality is that I’m not satisfied, and in a way, proud that I’m not satisfiable, that I have high standards and ambition. Yet, I recognize that at some point in my life I need to allow myself to arrive, even if it is not at the place I ultimately want to be.
So, maybe it is not enough when I measure it against my unreasonable standards, but I hope that when I stand still long enough I’ll find there is more in my stores than I realized, and that I’ll be able to rest and feel joyful.
I’ll let you know if I survive to spring.
I love the work of Mary Oliver. This poem seems particularly relevant:
Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness
Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
who would cry out
to the petals on the ground
knowing, as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married
to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do
if the love one claims to have for the world
So let us go on
though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.
— MARY OLIVER, “Swan: Poems and Prose Poems”