An Infusion of JOY!
Farm = Faith. DNA.
Each year when October arrives and I see the combines drive into the fields, something happens to my spirit, no matter what is happening around me. I cannot exactly explain it; there is a sense of wonderment, a sense of renewal, grace, peace; I feel different. I feel drawn to pull over to the side of the road, close to a field and watch, secretly hoping someone will offer me a ride.
I take pictures of random farmers at work. I watch from a distance as the auger carts keep up with the combine so it can keep running. I think about and pray for the families involved in the farming. I observe how families and neighbors work together this time of year. I watch how row by row the crops disappear into the combines and corn/beans come out the other end, and are loaded and trucked away.
I have conducted my own highly unscientific research about the sunsets and sunrises in October and I believe they are the most beautiful in October. The skies are bluer and the sunsets more vibrant, even as the dust rises and blows during the harvesting.
This year, like a little girl at Christmas, I got that ride – first time in an auger cart, which means, really, just driving back can forth making sure the combine can keep running. I was so excited to get to ride, because I could see it all first hand; families working together hours and hours a day to take advantage of the great weather; working together as equipment breaks and needs fixing; as they work day after day after day, because they know the weather is out of their control.
It turns out that I NEEDED those hours riding in the auger cart to discern in my own heart why October is so special to me.
Farming IS IN MY DNA! No matter where I live, what I do, where I go, who I meet, I connect with farmers and rural communities. Farm is in my DNA; it is part of who I am, how I was raised and truly never goes away. I think differently and see my world differently because of that DNA. I know that without farmers, people do not have food to eat. I know that farmers care deeply about the land and have knowledge and experience far beyond a textbook. I know that farmers live and breathe and sincerely care for one another.
Harvest starts back in the spring with the anticipation of planting the seeds. Farmers prepare their equipment; they watch and wait for the right soil temperature, they pray for good weather, just enough rain in just the right places, they prepare their fields and get those seeds in the ground, in hopes that they will grow abundantly.
FAITH: planting is the ultimate act of faith. One seed is planted in the ground and then left to produce hundreds of other seeds. After they are planted, it is no longer in a farmer’s hands.
I think that is why harvest affects me so deeply. It reminds me of the seasons of my life. You see, farmers plant EXACTLY the seeds they want; they know the potential yield, they know if it is white corn or yellow; they know what they can expect in return per bushel; it is pretty predictable year to year. That is not always the case with us; we plant seeds WE think we want, but are not always what we should have. But then God provides abundantly beyond what we could dream.
October also signifies a slower pace, a time to rest. The ground will be harvested; the chisel plows will turn the dirt over one more time before it sits fallow for the next five to six months. The grounds NEEDS that time to replenish, to soak in the nutrients, to get ready for the next growing season.
I too need rest, time to be still, so that I can replenish mind, body, spirit and take time to remember that God is always working on my behalf. He is providing even when I cannot see it or are walking through something that is awful.
Getting that ride this October, seeing a sunset over the cornfield and witnessing farmers in action was a most incredible gift this year. October IS my favorite month. I know the farming facts/statistics (i.e. one U.S. farmer produces enough food to feed 155 people), but it goes beyond that for me.
Farming is the ultimate act of Faith.
I find myself facing winter, this barren season, without a sense of dread. It is a time to be slow; a time to replenish and be still; a time to renew mind, body, spirit.