Harvesting season is coming to an end here in rural Germany.
Since our move here, well over a year ago now, I have become keenly aware of each season and the way village life weaves around and through the year’s rhythms. Seasons make way for the next, and each one brings with it an age-old tradition; whether it’s preparing the farmland for the cold, frosty winters that freeze the fields hard, or picking ripe apples and plums straight from the trees in the summer, the farmers gently move in time with the year.
My father-in-law is a farmer. He spends most of the summer out in the fields, harvesting crops of all kinds; rapeseed, wheat, linseed. Sometimes, he’s out there for 12 hours or more, only coming home when the sun goes down. He likes to drink a beer outside and look up at the stars when he arrives home. It’s all he knows, this life. His father was a farmer, and his father and his father and his father; each generation handing down the farm and land to the next. It’s a simple and hard and beautiful way of living; steeped in tradition and deep family ties and loyalty.
After all the crops are harvested, my father-in-law spends his Autumn days ploughing the fields before Spring, where he’ll plant new crops for the Summer harvest. Ploughing disrupts the soil, turning it over and breaking down the blocky structure of the soil, increasing oxygen and giving those seeds the best chance of germinating and growth.
I’m already starting to miss the golden rows of shoulder-height wheat plants that surround our village. The fields look so bare and barren now, and yet just underneath the seemingly lifeless soil is a stirring of new life that will build and breathe and bloom come late Spring.
I’ve been thinking about the process of planting and harvesting and ploughing a lot recently, and how closely it resembles LIFE, and yet how, as humans—when our lives feel ploughed—when we experience disruption, ‘turn over’ and breakdown, we tend to see this as a bad thing, something we hide away from or avoid.
But what if we choose to experience disruption, ‘turn over’ and break down as something unavoidable? What if it gives us the best chance of growth and change? What if underneath the sometimes seemingly lifelessness of LIFE is the stirring of something new that will build and breathe and bloom—just like it does for the seeds—if only we’d welcome these times as necessary rhythms of life?