Harvest & Shadows

Words by Meaghan Cursons
Photo by Jenn Dykstra

Summer lays down to sleep in the cool woods. The crisp fall air wakens. Trails of dark wet earth wind through the forest. The prints of thirsty animals in the dry creek bed dissolve with the rain. The stream rises from its summer slumber. Wetlands and floodplain forests fill. Dust is washed away revealing the rich colours of life, death and perseverance.

In the northern hemisphere, this time of the year marks the beginning of the colder, leaner months to come. The animals are brought in from the fields, the bounty of the hunt preserved, the last gathering of crops completed. The turning season is celebrated with fairs and festivals.

And directly between the fall equinox and winter solstice, lies Samhain, the ancient Gaelic holiday of harvest and shadows. The “veil between the worlds” of the living and the dead is said to be at its thinnest at this time of year. We remember those who have departed and celebrate their lives.

We light fires and carve lanterns to guide our ancestors home. We invite them to feast and share the harvest, setting plates at our table, welcoming them in from the cold.

The boundaries between what was and what will be are distinctly blurred. The conversation between the worlds, once murmured, becomes distinct. Divisions die, conflict ends, and the veins of fate, de-leafed and bare, reveal their patterns.

Seeds of change and renewal are planted in the long shadows. The fertile earth, rich with the remains of the summer, nurtures the dream of spring.




Category: Volume 12