The harvest moon will rise tomorrow, marking the passage of summer’s growth, emblazoning a season of gathering, and signaling the coming of winter’s rest. For years out of time, the moon has waxed and waned in a cycle of ending and beginning, and those who watched it swell and shrink, echoed their movements upon the earth in response to the wellspring of its guiding light in the heavens. In a beautiful circle, the rhythms of preparation, sowing, tending, watching, weighing, harvesting, gathering, celebrating, and resting were punctuated with life’s unpredictability, and through it all, the moon shone steadily on.
For years, my dad has consulted with local farmers as they’ve sown and reaped in my home state of Ohio. Each year, he works with growers step by step as they read the signs of spring planting time, combine the nurturing hands of nature with the watchful eye of experience all through the hot and humid summer, until finally, at just about the time the harvest moon begins to ripen, harvest is come. He tells me harvest is an immense culmination, the fulcrum upon which balances all the year’s efforts and those of the next, rocked by past and tipped by future; and I’ll wager that any who has planted seed or seedling and kept it alive long enough to pluck a sweet fruit, tucked under protective leaf, will not find this immensity hard to understand. From backyard fruit to field, the harvest brings a fulfillment and finality and balance to all.
An ending and a beginning within a sustained cycle.
All things are symbols: the external shows
Of Nature have their image in the mind,
As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
The song-birds leave us at the summer's close,
Only the empty nests are left behind,
And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Today we mark the celebration of Bounty, a project that, to me, is as full of preparation and experience and harvest as those fields of livelihoods back home. In fact, this collection has close ties to life and living; the place where fullness meets want, chaos chases calm, dreams break reality, weakness builds to strength, excitement fades, and “new and old things are confounded,”(Thoreau) and all in various times and seasons. This is a collection that takes notice of the changing seasons both within our lives and within the world we live. I hope my Bounty collection will be a moment to take note of the beauty amongst the changes, to honor the harvest, and to prepare for the days ahead that have noticeably different proportions of light and night.
When it comes to proportionality, we all have different bounties to give, and I feel a great purpose of this is to gather our bounties and together, celebrate a fullness. There is a fullness to sharing, even when our harvest is thin. There is an anti-singularity to harvest, its richness is in gathering, combining, and sharing- that is what produces abundance. To abide in bounty is to be accompanied.
For this collection I gathered experiences. They were not singularly mine, they came from dear friends and stalwart family sharing their bounty with me in the forms of kindness, strength, the sharing of their talents, the literal and figurative showing up on my doorstep with flowers, a kind word, or fresh baked delights.
The sweet babe in my belly has taught me much these past 8 months together. I have learned new things about myself in this season, not least of all was the realization that my normally bountiful harvest and ability to share was all of a sudden limited because of a lack of energy, ability, and circumstance.
I watched my husband and sons wake before the sun and go work on the house that will hold our future family of 6. They worked with all their might to build a special haven for our family. The building and coloring of our home will forever be a special memory for this season of my life.
They are richer because they are not mine alone, they were shared and shared again.
The joy and lament of a harvest, though not without effectual influence, is ephemeral, yet this transitory moment makes us stop to savor, knowing this moment is here but will be soon gone, replaced with another. However, the knowledge that it will come again is what makes us stop and mark a tradition. Traditionally, and across many cultures, the harvest moon has been celebrated in beautiful, intentional ways and marked with merriment, hope, and memory. It is my hope that pieces of this Bounty collection will earn their way into your traditions and gatherings as you share what you are able amongst those you gather around you.