A time to plant, a time to reap

“In former years, fall and winter days and nights meant hunkering down, gathering in, the fireplace crackling, chili bubbling on the stove, and the boys sweaty and energized from basketball games, filling the house with the magic of their youth. Now I’m down to dinner for one, conversations with myself, hauling and chopping wood, and continuing on my private pilgrimage as I grapple with darkness, in hopes of seeing the light.”

- A Year By The Sea, by Joan Anderson





I have always loved the changing seasons, though the spectacular days of autumn are somewhat tempered by the fact that we know what is coming beyond it.

But, as a friend in Massachusetts said to me not long ago, she looks forward to a harsh winter because it gives her a good excuse to stay home.

Life, as always, is what you make it.

The sights, sounds and smell of autumn hold such sharp, clear vibrance, unlike any other time of year.

Rich memories. It strikes me as strange that I can summon the scent of a hopper wagon filled with freshly shelled corn, as if committed to memory the same way we memorize a favorite poem. I remember the cool, damp feel of the shelled corn as we pushed the last of the crop down the open hatch of the wagon, unloading it into the pit for drying and storage.

Jumping in the nearly empty hopper wagon to shake loose the last bit of shelled corn was the best job on the farm for a little kid.

Face of a farmer. The memory of watching my dad check the moisture content of the shelled corn is as clear as if it happened yesterday. He would sometimes smile from ear to ear at the result.

Other times, his concern was apparent, as the cost was going to be great to dry the crop in the bins, slicing in to an already slim profit margin.

This time of year, after we’ve watched the green corn fields fade away to brown, we can hear the crop rustling when the wind blows as the moisture ebbs away from the stalk.

I hear the sound of combines making their way across the open stretch of fields, and in the evening. The sound of grain dryers can be heard from a mile or two away, taking the remaining moisture from the shelled corn.

Turn, turn, turn. There is nothing like the work of harvest to remind us of the seasons of a lifetime – we sow, we nourish and nurture, we hope and worry, we count our blessings as we reach the day of reaping what we’ve sown.

Today I took a walk and watched the red and golden leaves falling, swirling and flying about as the autumn wind carried a hint of coolness, bracing us for the winter ahead.

I listened as wild geese made an incessant racket overhead, calling out to one another, gathering in large numbers as autumn marches on.

I count my lucky stars to live where I live, to be able to walk in peacefulness surrounded by the tranquil sights and sounds of autumn.

About the Author

Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college. More Stories by Judith Sutherland

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