Harvesting Apples: Connecting Across Continents

“I’m no longer searching, I'm just opening.” -MARK NEPO

Connecting in apples trees at Hollyhock. © Darshan Alexander

Connecting in apples trees at Hollyhock. © Darshan Alexander

This week, I've been out in the early autumn sun harvesting squash blossoms, tomatoes, raspberries and many varieties of apples: eaters and cookers. So many delicious apples.
One of the many wonderful things about being in the garden and engaging in this "green gym" activity is that it connects me to everything and increases my appreciation of the natural cycles of life. These cycles are simple and inevitable and wonderful if we can stop searching for anything else but what is natural intelligence. 
And all the elements are literally here in my hands. It makes me feel very alive, awake and opens my mind, body and spirit to what is happening here and now.
It's Apple country here in Devon. Like many of the western bits of France and England, these Celtic lands are famous for their delicious and abundant ciders and apples.
So too, on Cortes Island, Hollyhock where I'll be in just over two weeks' time for my workshop retreat on Grief, Grace and Gratitude, it  has its own bountiful crop of apples. Juicy, alive, abundant fruit ready for harvest. Crumbles to be made, apple rings to dehydrate, jam to simmer, compote to cook, and apple pies of course.
It's wonderful to stop the searching and simply to surrender to what is at harvest time. It's Autumn, apples are everywhere. There is beauty in simply opening up to this. My nervous system can rest and relax and feel simply more awake. A life lived awake also involves letting go and grief. Natural intelligence. Natural cycles. Natural necessary aspects of living. 
When we feel grief authentically, and allow the feeling fully, then our bodies and spirits open up to what is happening now. It takes time and space. And inside of the contraction and avoidance of what we don't want, once it is felt, is space and often joy. Opening to “what is”, all of it, gives us a harvest of fluidity, freedom and resilience.

The letting go of a ripe apple falling from the tree as fruit. The cycle is complete for now as an end and a beginning simultaneously. There is grief perhaps and also the graceful rightness of things ending as they do and so they must, to make way for cyclical changes and new beginnings, as well as delicious apple treats. Gratitude and Thanksgiving naturally arise and we can enjoy the end of the search and simply, gracefully perhaps, vulnerably and tenderly, surrender our searching and live fully awake.
What are you harvesting this autumn? What crops are culminating? What are you more curious about than afraid of? What is your harvest now?
Here’s to your life’s harvest and the embrace of natural cycles.

If an apple blossom or a ripe apple could tell its own story, it would be, still more than its own, the story of the sunshine that smiled upon it, of the winds that whispered to it, of the birds that sang around it, of the storms that visited it, and of the motherly tree that held it and fed it until its petals were unfolded and its form developed.
— - Lucy Larcom
In the Lakota/Sioux tradition, a person who is grieving is considered most waken, most holy.There’s a sense that when someone is struck by the sudden lightning of loss, he or she stands on the threshold of the spirit world. The prayers of those who grieve are considered especially strong, and it is proper to ask them for their help.You might recall what it’s like to be with someone who has grieved deeply. The person has no layer of protection, nothing left to defend. The mystery is looking out through that person’s eyes. For the time being, he or she has accepted the reality of loss and has stopped clinging to the past or grasping at the future. In the groundless openness of sorrow, there is a wholeness of presence and a deep natural wisdom.
— ― Tara Brach
Katheryn TrenshawComment