Friday, May 1, 2015

Unearthing in autumn

 We've done this before, you and I. It's that time of year again, when the shadows are lengthening, the nights are growing cooler and it's time for us to venture to the other side of the hill.
 At first we seem to be making straight for the sea, but the secret place we are heading for means a bit of a climb
 as we take the winding path up the side of the hill. Our back pack is heavy, with drink and a container of rice salad, along with camera and warm clothing for later in the day.
 The climb never matters when there's a view like this at the other end, before the descent to the hidden garden.
 Repetition is unavoidable in a blog about the seasons. The wheel turns and we are back where we were last autumn,
 ready to join in the communal kumara dig. It starts with the tearing up of the vines. What lies beneath, says our host, is a mystery.
 There might be nothing at all this year. It will take patience as our fingers work into the sandy earth.
 Implements are forbidden. They might cut into the kumara, or into little fingers. The trick is to make a 'cliff' and then tunnel into it from the side. Not easy this year as rain has fallen and the earth is quite solid under the first loose layer of the mounds.
Our host was right. This little cluster was all I found,
 and compared with last year, the crop was not huge. When things repeat, the differences stand out.
 After a barbecue, and chats on the grass with friends new and old, it was time to wander back along the beach before the full tide made the river crossing difficult.
As I inhaled the fresh tang of the surf, I thought of the comfort of the seasonal cycle. Harvest time comes round each year. Through abundance and scarcity, friends gather, food is shared. Yet repetition also throws into relief what has changed; the friend who is now a widow, another who is in a wheelchair, the absences, the uncertainties of climate, the endings, and some unwelcome beginnings.

I returned to the comfort of the turning wheel of the year, and remembered an old rhyme:

The earth, the water, the fire and the air.
Returns, returns
Returns, returns.

May it continue to be so.

17 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet - yes the seasons move on allowing us different visions ... the Sweet Potato Kumara harvest - looks pretty good ... but each season gives us what it can. Cheers Hilary

Juliet Batten said...

Hilary, thanks for visiting the harvest.

Ruth P said...

A beautiful walk with you Juliet. Thanks for this detailed post. It nourishes on many levels!!! Ruth

Juliet Batten said...

Ruth, I'm so glad you could walk with me.

Vicki Lane said...

Over on my side of the world I'm repeating myself as well -- putting in the garden, packing away the winter clothes, celebrating the miracle of new growth. I love the repetition and, as you so wisely say, it does throw into sharp relief the things that have changed -- the losses most of all. But it's life and I wouldn't have it otherwise.

Juliet Batten said...

Vicki, that's beautiful to think of you echoing the repetitions, but in the opposite season. Thank you.

Nadezda said...

Here the new warm season begins and repetition continues..You're right Juliet.
What do you do with sweet potato? I've never eat it.
I love the wonderful views from the hill!

Juliet Batten said...

Nadezda, the kumara is delicious roasted in the oven with pumpkin & beetroot. Yes, the views are wonderful on that walk. Thank you.

silkannthreades said...

How wonderful to participate in a kumara harvest. What happened to all the vines? Were they added to compost? Were any of them cooked?

Juliet Batten said...

Gallivanta, it was a great community event. The vines were all added to the compost pile. I've never heard of them being eaten.

Penny O'Neill said...

It is always a gentle joy taking this walk with you, Juliet, rejoicing in the rhythms of life and "the comfort of the seasonal cycle". Thank you.
Here, we are planning our garden plot, still raking away the leaves and debris of a hard winter and discovering the tender, green shoots and flowers of all that is emerging.

Juliet Batten said...

Penny, it's always a pleasure to have you accompany me on this walk. I was unearthing kumaras and you are unearthing new shoots. I do enjoy these polarities.

Hotly Spiced said...

Yes, the seasons in Sydney have definitely changed as well. I do love your images; the walk and the ocean view are stunning. And even though it's a smaller harvest, the kumera look really good. I bet you felt exhilarated at the end of the day xx

Juliet Batten said...

Charlie, I certainly did feel great at the end of the day. I'm so glad you enjoyed the walk; it's certainly a special place. Thank you.

Friko said...

It’s the only good way to live, with the seasons;

I do so admire your resolute way of following the earth on her axis, living, loving and being in tune with every day she gives us. yes, things change, but that is what it is all about. for us there are seasons too; humans have a beginning and an end and much in between.

Juliet Batten said...

Friko, the seasons bring me so many teachings as they change. As you say, it's the way to live. Thank you.

Juliet Batten said...

Friko, the seasons bring me so many teachings as they change. As you say, it's the way to live. Thank you.