As the Summer’s light begins to fade, the sun rises later each day, and the first harvest festival has come and gone. If we pay attention, we may feel in our bones the ancient rhythms of our ancestors, who knew that the time for storing and preparing for the dormant season was come.
Although we are blessed to have grocery stores and access to virtually unlimited food supplies all year round, we know that the growing season (in much of the Northern Hemisphere) will soon be coming to an end. Now is the time to put up those juicy tomatoes and summer squash, to dry our herb harvests, and to prepare for the barren times.
But how we go about it means everything. If we save and store based on our fears, that fear contaminates us. Hoarding and stinginess can taint our wealth, just as surely as weevils can spoil our larder. I believe our ancestors knew this very well, and they made sure that their preparations for winter’s hunger were centered on gratitude and celebration, not the shadow of doom.
Certainly, they lived in precarious times, with starvation over the winter always a very real possibility. Yet even with death always present, perhaps because of this fact, the harvest times were greeted with glad rituals, feasting, and sharing. Possible disaster was never far away, but their preparations were not panicked. Instead, in a life that was very hard and dangerous, and often cut short early, our predecessors went to great lengths to make sure that every part of the gathering and saving of their abundance was done with intention, gratitude and joy.
In most of the United States and Western world, it has been a very long time since starvation was likely to visit our families. Yet we worry about having enough money and goods to meet our needs. Life nowadays is more complicated, and while dying of physical hunger is not very likely for most of us, knock on wood, our needs are also more complicated and can feel just as worrisome at times.
If that is so, then I would suggest that we can begin by learning from our ancestors and those who still live at the edge of survival. Without exception, they’ve cultivated generosity and thankfulness right alongside their rice, maize, or barley. This would seem to be one of the first and most important steps towards creating real abundance, even today.