September 1 and the crickets are thrumming at full volume, I squint in the humid heaviness of sunlight in this emerald basin of grass and weeds and wildflowers. Only a tinge of yellow to a few of the maple leaves, and the 7:30 am rumble of the school bus on the gravel road hint that Fall is around the corner. But this is the land of seasons, the latitude and altitude where summer slips into crisp shorter colorful days, where winter chill lurks. In Africa we had rainy and dry, but those distinctions were blunted of late.
So instead of working on my Paeds recertification study, or on upcoming speaking, or on our support video, or on any of a dozen other good things we could think of to do, yesterday we went to the Farmer's Market and scooped up the last 15 pounds of summer tomatoes, and to Lowe's for an apple and a pear tree, and a couple each of blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and grape seedlings. Then returned for an afternoon of chopping and simmering and stirring those 15 pounds into 1.5 gallons, and of digging holes and scooping pine needle mulch from the forest to place those bushes into the earth. Dirty fingernails, sweaty clothes and sore muscles will hopefully yield some pies for our children's children. Experimenting with canning tomato sauce for the first time (I froze most of it, since I know that works) I hope will yield a taste of freshness on a winter day.
Seasons, I realize, push us to live in the now. Summer will not last. The farmer from whom we bought the tomatoes was planning to pull out the vines this week. The bushes we planted have to take root before the first frosts. On the equator, one could always assume that next week or next month we would get around to it. Only much of the time, we didn't. Seasons anchor us in the reality of a turning tilting globe, where babies become college students. They tell us to bake and to visit, even if there are a thousand other things left undone.
In the 21rst century, seasons may be muted by air conditioning and central heat, by imported fruit and year-round lettuce. The urgency of the moment can by a tyranny, but it can also be a blessing we are losing by our illusion of timelessness.
So this season, we embrace the tie to the land we have landed on, and the transience of these ages for our kids and our friends, this chapter in God's story.
15 pounds of tomatoes
chop and add to pan with olive oil, garlic and onions
Add tomato paste, brown sugar, oregano, cumin, basil
4 pints canned, 4 quarts to freezer
until we build our oven, the pizza stone put to use
Seasons reflected in children (we look the same of course):
Myhres last sabbatical, 2000-2001
Myhres this sabbatical, 2015