This is one of my favorite seasons. The slanting golden sunlight, cerulean skies, whiter than white clouds drifting along, multi-colored leafs gently wafting to the forest floor, and the bustling harvest in the fields as combines make their way reaping the fruit of the earth.Of course, what makes the countryside beautiful and rich are the memories it evokes. Inevitably entwined in those memories are people. The people whose woods I walked in. The families whose haylofts I played in. The folks, past and present, who molded my life. The seasons of my life have been blessed by a rich bounty of people. They planted the seeds of faith in my life, watered them and watched them grow. Some of them have sung the song of harvest home. Some I get to see daily. Regardless, they continue to bless me.
Every year at this time, I pull out this poem by Max Coots and read it over and over again.
Let us give thanks for a bounty of people:
For children who are our second planting, and though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may they forgive us our cultivation and fondly remember where their roots are.
Let us give thanks;
For generous friends…with hearts…and smiles as bright as their blossoms;
For feisty friends, as tart as apples;
For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us that we’ve had them;
For crotchety friends, sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;
For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn, and the others, as plain as potatoes and so good for you;
For funny friends, who are as silly as Brussels sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes;
And serious friends as unpretentious as cabbages, as subtle as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as delightful as dill, as endless as zucchini and who, like parsnips, can be counted on to see you through the winter;
For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time, and young friends coming on as fast as radishes;
For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold us, despite our blights, wilts and witherings;
And finally, for those friends now gone, like gardens past that have been harvested, but who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter.
For all these we give thanks.
© Max Coots
Let us all give thanks for friends no matter their type and God’s graciousness in giving them to us. People, made in God’s own image, who come to bless us.
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J. Brent Bill is a Quaker minister, retreat leader, author and photographer. His books include "Awaken Your Senses: Exercises for Exploring the Wonder of God" (with Beth Booram), "Sacred Compass: The Way of Spiritual Dicernment," and many more. He lives on Ploughshares Farm, 50 acres in exurban Indiana being reclaimed as native hardwood forest and tall grass prairie. He is amazingly witty and good looking for a geezer.