Autumn is officially here and whilst the season is a little tarnished with sad memories, I still very much find it to be my favourite times of year. I love the cool, crisp days brightened with sunshine, the colours of nature, cosy knits and boots, warm drinks and basically every joyful thing that it brings with its arrival… I have joyful things I love about every season, but there is something special about Autumn!
I enjoyed a year and half living over in the states when I was in my early 20’s…I had thanksgiving and Halloween fun amongst other things with them, but Autumn over there was always filled with excitement, thanks, natural beauty and joy (just as it is here, but obviously a little more flamboyant)!! And whilst they recognise it in different ways, I noticed my feelings around the season were the same; I enjoyed the celebration of autumns arrival and the seasons veggies and general appreciation of everything we had to eat, just as we do here.
I know the love of Autumn for me began way before this though, back to when I was a child and we had harvest Festivals every year at school.I felt excited not only about starting back at school with all of my new stuff, but also to be able to give to those in need, and take hampers to our elderly neighbours. Back then I knew little of American thanksgiving but played my part in giving thanks for our farmers and crops so we could eat well… I remember walking past the displays in the school hall leading up to the harvest festival, where everyone had left vegetables, packets and tins and thinking it was amazing we had all played our part and looked forward to going into the hall and singing (I loved to sing at school) – It was an ordinary part of autumn in our school life.
This Ordinary moment was reintroduced to us 2 weeks ago when I opened Ethan’s book bag to find a letter talking about his schools Harvest festival, I began to go NUTS!! “GET IN” – I thought/shouted out loud…this is going to be mint! I had totally forgotten all about them! In the letter they asked every child to decorate a shoe box and fill it with food and bring it in to school ready for the Harvest festival. To play our part, last Saturday the kids decorated shoe boxes and then together we filled them with tins, food, sugar and other useful items to be sent to St Georges crypt here in Leeds…gone are the days where you take a tin of beans or bag of carrots, this was a hardcore food collection and everyone rose to the occasion.
The kids thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this and Nath and I enjoyed the nostalgia of Harvest times, and overall it was just wonderful to see our kids so excited to help others and do something nice for people that don’t have in their lives right now the things we do.
Then on Tuesday, despite feeling rough, I joined Ethan and the rest of his school and parents in the school hall in front of a big display and celebrated through prayer, words and song what a good harvest we can enjoy in this country this year…I loved to hear the children giving thanks for what they enjoy, talking about their favourite fruits and veggies and recognising that it is because of hard work and good weather. It was great to see them thanking God for another good harvest and acknowledging the hard work of the farmers. They were also very aware of other countries that due to war, flooding, or drought cannot have these things so easily.
They sang some brilliant songs about cauliflowers, peas, apples and other fruits and Vegetables and it was lovely to see them being grateful and thinking of others.
To me Harvest Festivals are an ordinary part of the school days and I have loved reflecting on them through Ethan’s experiences. I have loved being involved in a great service and being reminded of the joys of Autumn. I hope we always feel this way around this time of year despite the difficult start to the season.