What's In Season?
The cherry orchard is open for business! This makes my sister-in-law who adores tart cherries a very happy camper. Now we wait for the fresh tomatoes and corn. And when will the peaches come in? Don't even think about fresh figs right now. Crops have their seasons. All of life does. For those of us who know the art of canning, preserving, and freezing fresh produce, we may enjoy it throughout the year. Otherwise, we have to wait until it's in season.
Sort of. With artificial methods of germinating, incubating, growing, and harvesting, many foods can be found on a regular basis. In his book, Everything Is Spiritual, Rob Bell writes, "Our ancestors were far more tuned in to the natural rhythms of the earth. There was the planting season, and then the harvesting season. Summer, then fall, then winter, then spring. One season starts, and then it ends, and then another one starts, and then it ends... Today, we can buy tomatoes in a snowstorm in February at 3:00 in the morning. We don't know where they were grown, or who grew them, or whether they're in season or not. We want to make salsa in the middle of the night and we don't ask of a lot questions about where these tomatoes came from. This is good, and not so good. We have more technologies, luxuries, and options than our ancestors, but with that has come less and less connection with the earth, with the seasons, with the rhythms of creation, with beginnings and endings."
Most of us know "connection with the earth" as consumerism. It exists for us to use. It lives so we can. Plants, animals, birds, land, water, air - it's all subordinate and therefore subject to any and every human whim. Problem is that use so easily slides into abuse. Sometimes that's overt abuse like devastation and destruction, and sometimes it's plain old neglect. Sure, homo sapiens is considered to be the highest form of life, but that doesn't mean we can run roughshod through history with no thought for wise stewardship. Our domination of the planet should always be tempered by the broad view of time and space, as well as by concern for the wellbeing of all life. We'd do well to digest the pithy insight of Thich Nhat Hanh who said, "The miracle is not to walk on water but on the earth."
Life has its seasons and being aware of the natural rhythms of beginnings and endings, ebbs and flows, birthing and dying can afford us greater appreciation for the sanctity of all life. How we view and treat the earth and all living things connected to it will likely shape the way we see and relate to the other homo sapiens with whom we walk and work this planet. Not one iota of it all exists for our destructive pleasure. Especially others of our kind. Kindness, compassion, restraint, care, respect, gentleness - all shoots from the root of love - are always in season.