Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The harvest

I love this time of year. Love the bounty of harvest and the brightness of the large, low moon illuminating the landscape. And I love our little pumpkin patch. Just a tangle of vines on the hill behind the house, never any more pumpkins than my family could use for display. But this year, we only had four. Barely bigger than pie size and one hardly bigger than an apple - guess you could say we had a bad case of shrunkin' punkins.

I blame the rain. And the weeds. Too much of a good thing, too much of a bad thing, not enough or maybe too much work on my part. And a whole lot of other factors that I probably haven't taken into account because I can't control them.

A little like writing, huh? Years ago I heard a snippet from Garrison Keillor (that I have not been able to find since)where he compared writing to farming. My crop is prose, it grows in rows...

It's an image Ive always embraced. Partly because it helped me to feel better about praying for success (does a farmer feel its wrong to pray for his crop? Then why should a writer? ) And partly because, like a farmer, so much of what becomes of the seeds I plant is completely out of my control. Also, I like to wear overalls.

This past few weeks I've been able to not write - I have written some but for fun, and myself not for a project. I've blogged, and worked on my other job, and gone traveling a bit. As for what I've written that needs a home? I've done the work. Sent it off to market. It's out of my hands for the time being.

This used to panic me. I'd try to force it, tried to always get something else going like a scientist making plants bear fruit all year long. Those hothouse tomatoes never taste as good the warm, fat 'maters grown in season, planted in their own time and tended as they should be. And my hothouse writing was as often as not just as waxy, artificial and flavorless as the winter 'big boys' and beefsteaks (those are kinds of tomatoes, y'all).
So for now I think I will let the ground go fallow for a few days more. Let it rest so that when it’s time to plant again, it (and I) will be ready to receive the next crop, nurture it, bring it to market then let it go and pray it nourishes someone.