Thursday, September 9, 2010

It's coming on Harvest aka autumn

Before the 16th century, Harvest was the term used to refer to the season. However, as more people  moved from working the land to living in towns, the word harvest lost its reference to the time of year and came to refer only to the actual activity of reaping, and autumn began to replace it as a reference to the season.  The alternative word fall is limited primarily to North American English.

All cultures have an Harvest festival, and without exception the theme is a celebration of food (YIPPEE!) and eating.  A good food celebration included elaborate feasts and food displays. Tables, homes and even people were decorated  with foods such as grains, corn, flowers, fruit, gourds, acorns, corn stalks and cornucopias as well as the colors of autumn. 

Harvest celebrations are a time of gratitude and merriment combined with a dash of dread as the fall equinox -- a day of equal light and dark-- heralds the impending darkness and cold of winter.  This year the Autumn Equinox is September 23rd.  

We've creating a new gallery of Harvest season images and you can see them all in the slide show below.   It emphasizes images of New England and the Midwest, with stunning fall foliage as well the more subtle signs of the changing seasons.

Fall - Colors and Changes - Images by Gay Bumgarner
And, to go with the pictures here is a favorite poem for the Harvest season by Mary Oliver called

"In Blackwater Woods"

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
~ Mary Oliver ~ (American Primative)

2 comments:

Sharon said...

Some of these images were featured in the Yankee Magazine Shutterbug of the week and are still available in that album
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=200030&id=249976527768
with the wonderful comments and discussions by the Yankee readers and photographers.

Sharon said...

Or, you can just click on the blog link at Yankee Magazine. Happy Harvest!