We reap what we sow. This has obvious implications at this time of year, though if we contemplate our life path, we may see that this does not always have to do with food. There is much interesting spiritual, metaphysical and everyday material on things like karma, sustained effort, attitude and the like that certainly gives us clear direction and understanding that no matter what we may believe, our actions (including thoughts and words) will have a concurrent effect in some way or other.

With this in mind, we may more deeply look at the process that goes into planting, tending and harvesting our farm food in this world. We may also look at food that grows wild, and learn something from that process that may coincide with our human life patterns. Food will grow, healthy and strong with proper conditions. If these conditions are not met, the food suffers or dies outright. Death for humans is of course inevitable, though again we may consider dying from other vantage points than just the physical.

Today’s book is a fun kids book starring an old favorite family entitled ​The Berenstain Bears Harvest Festival.​ It was written in 2015 and shares some neat artwork, and childlike perspective and some useful information about how one particular group of creatures celebrates the harvest season. What we also find is that though we celebrate Thanksgiving here in America, other countries and cultures have for a long, long time celebrated the harvest season. People have been eating for an awfully long time.

Children’s books have always been a favorite for us here at On the Bookshelf. We find that it reminds us that we all have a childlike spirit in us that sometimes just needs a reason to come out and play. When we pick up a kids book to read alone, in a class or with an individual child, there is a reigniting of our own childlike spirit. This is very important. When we go into this area of our being, we can find ways to heal some of the hurts of the past, and guess what, we heal our adult self at the same time!

What do you think of when the idea of harvest or harvest season is mentioned? Perhaps you think of cornucopia or tables of food. There is a feeling of and a reality of abundance surrounding the harvest season, as long as things went well in the growing season. If the growing season was too hot or dry, or there was too much cloudy weather and rain, then perhaps the crops did not fare well. If the weeding was not done, perhaps the crops were strangled, and did not reach their potential. There are causes and conditions for healthy growth in plants and people.

Let us consider the metaphor of the planting, growing and harvest season as it relates to the human life experience. We all get planted in a place we do not choose, in a field with farmers we do not choose and in conditions we have no control over. This seems

quite challenging, and may be so. Interestingly, the human species has been planting, growing and harvesting for an awfully long time, so perhaps there is something good happening along the way. The simple fact that the human has a measure of free will, which if met with some level of maturity, can be used for good growth even after an initially tough start.

How can we bring more sun and light into our lives right now? What can we do to cool down with the lovely waters of life? What can we do to fertilize our life to help it grow more prosperously and healthily? What soil are we planted in now? What do we do to get our fresh air? Do we weed our garden? Voltaire noted, “We must tend our garden”. These seem to be odd questions perhaps, but when we understand that we are not much different than plants in many ways, and in fact we are made of plant matter specifically, we can look at our lives through a very fine and objective lens.

Light comes from the sun and from people we surround ourselves with, and activities we enjoin in. Cool water is found in contemplation, meditation and prayer. Fertilizer is very easily stirred into life through service to others, happily. Where we are is less important than how we are, and acceptance of current situations and reality allows the flow of life to move us to new dimensions and resolutions. Fresh air is found outdoors. We need to exercise. Weeding the garden can only be done when the weeds show themselves. We need to look at our life reflectively and make changes where we need to. Only we can do this for ourselves. Voltaire was onto something, you see?

Learning about the harvest and the harvest season requires us to understand the planting and growing seasons first. Let us all count our blessings as we eat the fruits of the labor of many people this autumn, and also look at how we may improve our own personal gardens, physical, mental and spiritual. Change is happening anyway, let us take this opportunity to improve ourselves, and thereby improve the world for all of us.

Enjoy and read on!

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