Today it was a beautiful day in the PNW. A perfect 80 degrees with a slight breeze and blue skies, and not too hot or muggy or humid like it has been here for the past week or so. Feeling motivated, I did what I told myself I would do and harvested some spinach from the garden as well as the last few rose petals from the unruly and fragrant bush that grows right beside my house. Naturally, as with almost all small tasks, it got me thinking.
I have always enjoyed picking fruit: some of my fondest memories are of having my head far up in a cherry tree or picking blackberries off the wild vines at my grandma’s house. When I was a child my grandpa would lift us up in the bucket of his John Deere so we could reach the really high ones up on the top of a mountain of vines. I have fond memories of picking apples from trees at my parents house, and I am learning how to keep a garden here at my own home.
But the harvest is something I am still learning. I’m not exactly used to the timing of the whole affair. You see, if you wait too long you won’t have anything left to harvest; but if you move in too soon you will have unripe or unsatisfactory results. The harvest requires good timing, and good timing means having a gentle awareness and keen observation. Harvest is also not something you do all at once. Sometimes you can, but oftentimes a good harvest is a daily affair; something you do consistently and often.
This concept of harvest is something we can transfer to other areas of life, too. By slowing down and paying attention, we can reap good things in our lives. I am also learning how to do this, one day at a time. It’s easy to go through life on autopilot, but with constant observation and a gentle awareness we can practice a good harvest on all the daily aspects of life.
Naturally, this contemplation seemed to coax a poem out of my brain. Inexplicably, after not writing a poem for months this one popped out fully formed. How? Who knows.
I am Learning the Harvest;
Learning how to Reap good things.
Laying out rose petals to dry
One by One.
It's tedious work but its a labor of love.
A Labor of Love.-JJC
It did me some good to work with the plants in the kitchen. I love spending time processing plants and preparing them for their respective uses. I first discovered I loved this act when I was processing mountains of apples to freeze and make into applesauce a few years ago, and today it was the joy of blanching and transforming a huge pile of leaves into a few lumps of green, and individually laying out huge handfuls of pale pink rose petals on paper towels to dry.
There’s something so special about lovingly addressing every bit of fruit, every leaf and petal that passes through your hands to become something more. There is a meditative quality to all that washing, sorting, drying, and eventual freezing, canning, or transforming into a dish or concoction. Now I can enjoy the benefits of my harvest with some spinach in my freezer, as well as a rose sugar mixture, rose simple syrup, and rose sugar scrub.
Be it flowers, food, or simply food for thought, everyone has something to harvest. Even if you do not have anything to harvest as far as plants go, I hope you are able to contemplate what harvest means. I sure will be!
Originally published at http://imperfectionfreak.wordpress.com on June 18, 2021.