--A note for the reader from Lukas McCamden.
There are those who say that spring is the season of new life, and I quite agree with them. But logically, if spring brings life, then autumn (the antithesis of spring) should bring death, and with that I disagree.
I enjoyed autumn as a lad. After a summer of books and rote studies, I was glad to venture to the fields with my father and aid him with the harvest of oats and barley. One of the grandest feelings in the world is to look at a shock of barley, or a sack of oats, and know that you accomplished it jointly with those you love. I have fainter memories of being particularly small--perhaps five or six--and digging for beets during a rainstorm. Whether I found more joy in playing in the mud or unearthing another vegetable I do not know, but I remember our herbalist Brother Nolan scolding me for my untidiness.
Now that I am an old man, the harvest is harder on me than it once was. The sickle grows heavier faster than it did once, and I have learned to make use of shovels to spare my back. And yet I face it with the same joy I did when I was first let loose in them, for harvest means food, and did not Solomon list food as one of the joys of life?
My days in the fields have taught me much, but chief of its lessons are patience and hard work. And indeed, the two go hand in hand. Tilling the soil is hard work, and manuring the fields more difficult still. As the days grow warmer, the new growth must be hoed. All this means work, aye, but patience also. For if I were to lose patience with the fields (as I nearly have many a time), I would dig up the seeds I had planted, and my work would come to naught.
Summer passes. The seeds become plants, and the plants bear their own seeds, but they are green and unripe. And then, as the days begin to grow shorter, and the wind blows brisk even at noon, I take my sickle and shovel. More work, aye, but a work well rewarded.
It is the same in many areas of life. We work hard, and yet unless we add patience to our work, it will come to nothing. Well does Paul tell us in Galatians that we will only reap if we faint not! And when we persevere and receive the reward due to us, it is only fitting that we rejoice and give thanks. And then, as a farmer in winter, we rest, but only until spring. Then, we set our sights on a new task, on a new prize, and we pursue it with vigor and patience.
Now that I have Alynn with me, I will have to plant twice what I am used to. Twice the work, but an infinite reward; I am hard-pressed to find something in this temporal world better than sharing a meal with a kindred spirit. Perhaps, though, I will teach her how to reap a field, so that I will once again look upon a shock of barley, or a bag of wheat, and know that I had the aid of my family in its production.
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.