I was shuffling around the garden shed looking for my crate of dormant tulip bulbs when images of my childhood surfaced in the cool darkness of the Dutch dawn.
I remembered tumbling into the kitchen, grubby from school, grabbing a floppy slice of bologna to run back out and play Swinging Statues with the twins next door. Dad was in the backyard, after a long day of welding Atlanta’s skyline, picking the last of the summer pole beans while mom was in the kitchen, phone cradled on her shoulder talking to granny, canning more tomatoes and okra than we’d eat in a lifetime.
What I can see this morning, all these years and a continent away, is that it wasn’t just beans and okra they were preserving. Mom and dad knew what we kids didn’t, that the coming winter was more than twinkling lights, pretty packages and paper snowflakes. Winter could be a bitter season for a man who spent his days astride iron beams high above a city quickly outgrowing itself. Work could be wanting, so dad and mom would harvest, preserve and pickle to keep our bellies full all winter long. Hope is what they were harvesting.
The equinox, a moment each spring and fall when the earth and all who dwell herein cross a threshold where light and darkness are equal as the earth tilts neither toward nor away from the sun.
In the process of writing my first book, Wildwood Wisdom, I am lingering between the light and dark as I harvest, preserve and share what I’ve sown across 5 decades. It is not always easy work, and Lord knows many days work at my desk is wanting, but I am thankful for this season to look with wonder at a life tilted on the axis of hope.
As the wheel of the year turns, I invite you to take time at this threshold of seasons to linger and look tenderly at the balance of dark and light in your life. May you harvest with hope what is nourishing and compost with compassion that which does not feed you.