I think I share every year something to do with fall harvest days, usually prompted by a drive far enough that I pass dozens of fields. Well, here it is again.
It was a warmer-than-usual fall day, and one glance in just about any direction revealed rising clouds of dust across the flat fields. It reminded me of Pigpen in the Peanuts comic, as if he made a bunch of friends and told them to spread out and do their thing. I could see combines, spreaders, harrows, wagons, grain trucks, and tractors. They were a variety of sizes and colors. Some were just starting to work a field, and some were wrapping up, ready to move to the next location. I slowed as they would enter the road and stay a safe distance behind, not only for my safety but for their comfort.
I marvel at the entire process every year. Perhaps it’s out of nostalgia since I grew up on a farm. Perhaps it’s out of familiarity because of living in the middle of farm country. Where some see dirt, slow-moving traffic, and inconveniences, I see hard-working people who represent families and communities. I see a process of life, where sowing, cultivating, reaping, and waiting are connected, in which we have influence but not control.
Watching the process encourages my faith. It reminds me of hope and disappointment, humility and patience, investment and sacrifice. The coming season will no longer be bustling. As I drive, I’ll look across the empty fields, probably blanketed with snow. It’s tempting to equate the bustle of activity with the only productivity, but there is plenty going on in those empty fields. The soil soaks up nourishment. It recuperates. It prepares.
Perhaps I marvel at the process every year because I can relate to the cycle, especially in relation to faith. There are many unknowns, and seasons stretch out or are truncated at times, but there’s a lot of consistency when we’re intentional about paying attention and noticing what is all around us.