Harvest, the visual cornucopia of autumnal fruiting, the deciduous passing of rich natural efflorescence can’t fail to touch most people in some way. The celebration of this season has been part of cultures for millennia.
But our festival of harvest these days tends to be packaged and sealed in tins and preservatives. The kids took a tin of grapefruit to school and probably sang something poetic about fruit, corn and thankfulness.
We are thankful for what we have and we think about those who do not have what we have.
Who are they? Poor people in other parts of the world? Hummm.. Perhaps a collection for charity will make us feel better. After all, almost three million children are thought to die annually because of poor nutrition.
Our celebration seems to be a ‘feel good’ moment and yes I can imagine farm labourers celebrating at the end of a hard season in days gone by, rightly so.
“We plough the fields and scatter…”
Our food and bounty increasingly comes from post-colonial poorer countries where our lust has arguably raped and enslaved. Curiously, Helen Walton, the wife of a founder of Wal-Mart, one of the richest women in the world said: “It’s not what you gather in life, but what you scatter in life, that tells…”
Yes I believe we should truly celebrate and express ourselves regularly: “Alas, for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them” Oliver Wendell Holmes
But I fear our cultural train ploughs on: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation under games and amusements of mankind” Henry Thoreau
I’m reminded of the story of Zaccheus who gave back four times as much as he had gathered.
Yet, still I pop to Tesco ‘cos we’re “out of fruit”.