Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
I loved Keats when I was a student doing English Literature at the University of York almost forty years ago, & at this time of year, I am often reminded of these opening lines of his “Ode to Autumn”.
As October dawns & the cycling year begins to fade with the approach of Autumn, it’s good to embrace this “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” and all it brings with it. It’s been a good year for soft fruits, for apples & especially for blackberries – I have collected them on walks with Sophie, & have enjoyed them with my morning yogurt!
“All Good Gifts around us are sent from Heaven above” we will be singing in our Harvest Festivals in our Churches: and it is right to give thanks for the beauty & wonder of the world around us, with gratitude for all Creation which God in His generosity has entrusted to us.
It is also really important to give thanks for & to support the work of our local Farming Communities: farming these days is a tough & demanding business – especially in these times of economic uncertainty – and we need to both pray for those involved in local agriculture and to support them through buying local produce where we can.
Also, although most of us get our meat, fish, fruit and vegetables in neat pre-packaged units from supermarkets, we must remember all those involved in international food chains, especially those involved with Fairtrade schemes. Buying our food ethically, through consumer choice, has made a real difference to the way food is sourced by supermarkets & can make a real difference to those whose livelihoods – indeed lives – are bound up in agriculture and food production.
As we enjoy the last of the blackberries (I was told as a child not to eat them after the 1st October “because the devil gets in’em” – anybody else heard that, or was it just our little Sussex Village?!) or as we eat this years crop of apples, let us do so with gratitude for those who bring our food to us, as well as remembering to “thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord, for all his Love”
Have a good Harvest-tide and a beautiful Autumn!
Love Fr. John