There is nothing like the first morning when the humidity lifts and somehow the world can be seen and felt more clearly through the thinner air. In the fall, change – the inevitability and beauty of it – is tangible. The mists of summer clear and we feel more energetic, inspired to begin projects that were put off, to continue with our lessons, or go back to the fields.
The circle of time is no more evident than in autumn’s arrival. The Earth is headed toward the darkness of winter, but still has much life in her. She sprouts out the last tomatoes and then the gourds, the sweet potatoes, the juicy beets, the earthy, sturdy, vitamin-rich blessings that equip us to move into slower times. The leaves begin to turn. We wake up from our summer naps to the reds, yellows, and oranges, and remember just how alive we are, how alive the earth is around us, and the work we must do to keep it so.
The harvest will not appear without the work of the farmer, her hands dirty and calloused – but she still loves the smell of the wind over her fields and the sound of her family’s laughter over the table. It is the same with community – both local and beyond – the work is hard, but the benefits are generous and life-giving.
We must work to maintain relationships with those who are different than us. How boring would the world be if we all believed the same thing, acted the same way? We must work to heal the Earth, the home that we all share. Use our hands and voices to both fix what wrongs that have been done and stop future damage. We must work to end conflicts, to lay down arms, to turn machine guns into shovels. It is hard work, but it will lead to harvest.
Here at Shakori Hills, through the festivals and the dreams of the growing Community Arts Center, we are aware of the work that has been done and all the work yet left to do. We look at the beautiful community around us, the work people do to help others and the offerings we are so lucky to have. Our fellow farmers and harvesters, what a joy to do this work together! We are here to celebrate that work. To take a break from it and acknowledge each other’s burdens while helping each other to carry them.
We must all continue the work. But there will be that morning when we wake up, smell the autumn air, and know that the work has paid off, that the harvest has come in, that we have done what we are here to do, together. And to celebrate…we will dance.
Love and Peace,
Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival Co-Coordinator