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October. The time of harvest. The farmers’ markets are filled to overflowing with produce and even here in Southern California some are beginning to stock up on supplies for the winter ahead. Harvest season is a completely unique time; it’s a time of celebration for certain, but the nature of that celebration is reverent, reflective and calm. Before the 16th century, I’ve recently learned, the entire season of autumn was simply known as “harvest.”
I decided to look up the word “harvest”; I always find there’s so much more to glean than meets the eye by confronting a definition of a word head-on.
Harvest: The gathering of a ripened crop or of the fruits of one’s labors. To receive the benefits of an action. The consequence of activity or an effort.
I don’t know about you, but I seem to place an awful lot of focus on my actions, activities and efforts. Mind you, I’ve got a good deal of focus on the consequences of and results of those actions, activities and efforts as well, but as far as viewing the yield of any of those labors as a harvest? Well, frankly, that just isn’t happening. Life seems to be more of a constant stream of thoughts…leading to intense action, activity and effort…leading to some results popping out at the other end. That about wraps it up: thoughts, action, activity, effort then results. Then simply lather, rinse, and repeat ad infinitum.
As I read the definition of harvest again, particularly the part about receiving the benefits of an action—in addition to the notion of the fruits of one’s labors—it becomes glaringly obvious that the presence of anything resembling a harvest is missing.
“What if…” I wonder, “I took the time to stop for a moment. What if I interrupted my routine today and merely became present to the fruits of my labors—exactly as they are and exactly as they are not—and I reflected on the bounty, the richness and the opulence that my life already has?”
As I began to slow down and ponder this question, a favorite quote bubbled up in my mind. Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The true harvest of my life is intangible; a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched.”
The moment I mentally stop the automaticity of the action/results/action/results cycle, I immediately witness the immensity of love, friendship and joy that my life has yielded. In that same moment it all seems to make sense: why in every religion on this planet the harvest is celebrated as an honored holy time and why people the world over commemorate days of thanks, and have done so since the dawn of civilization.
This year I’m not waiting for Thanksgiving to stop, witness and be grateful for the bounty of life; I’m celebrating the harvest today.
Thank you for the richness and beauty you’ve brought into my life.
Joel J. Loquvam
Attorney At Law
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