The harvest season is here. The majority of humans now live in cities (55% in 2018), so we tend to be more out of touch with the seasonal rhythms of planting and harvesting (unless, like me, you have a garden!). We might put pumpkins on our porches, but few of us grow or cook them ourselves; instead, we buy pumpkin in a can. Nevertheless, we all still eat crops grown and harvested by our fellow humans. We also wear some of those crops, including the Pima cotton named after the county in southern Arizona where I now live.

In fact, I live within walking distance of some cotton fields, and last week the cotton harvest season began. This huge bale is about the size of a semi-trailer and I’m amazed at how good the technology is in separating the cotton from seed husks and plant parts. It does, however, also leave some cotton bits behind (nothing beats hand-harvesting when it comes to perfection!), which end up gathering around the edges of fields and nearby roadways.

My own garden has basically finished its summer season as well. All that’s still producing is okra, though herbs (basil, oregano, parsley) are still thriving, along with some of last year’s onions (I’m guessing they’re prepping to go to seed at this point!). As I clear beds, dig in compost (some homegrown!), and plant seeds for winter greens and roots, I’m pondering my 2020 harvest—and not just from the garden.

What are we harvesting from this year of chaos, uncertainty, death, and distancing? One thing I’m harvesting is a new level of grateful awareness. I’m aware of the many gifts I have and how very well my life choices are working out for me at this stage of my journey. I’m noticing how much less time I’ve spent in the car (not driving to meet up with friends for lunch, go to church, swing by the library), and how I don’t miss that at all. I’m noticing a surprising level of comfort with being at home all the time (though I do take an hour’s walk every morning!). I also know that this might not be true for folks who are desperately working to juggle working from home and managing children’s homeschooling class-time work, for example!

I’m also harvesting a much greater awareness of our mutual interdependence as a society. I can choose my country’s leaders and work to influence their choices, but I do not act alone in that regard. I am part of a community, and the community must act in concert in order for influence and change to manifest. Part of my harvest this year is a recommitment to acting communally. That’s in large part because I am seeing the toxic effects of leaders who only think about themselves.

What is your spiritual harvest from this year? What new awarenesses are you seeing? What commitments are you making?

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