Friday, 3 September 2010

'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness'

The mist hung low over the park opposite us this morning, and as the sun made its watery appearance it was a clear sign that autumn is here. The English autumn is something to get poetic about as it seems to encapsulate both fresh beginnings (shaped by the school year) and a sense of the year tipping towards winter. The laziness of summer gives way to a new freshness and energy, yet at the same time there is a hint of regret for another year passing away. The nostalgia for the heat of summer, with the anticipation of winter fires.

We are very blessed to have a beautiful garden, and although it has done nothing to help my back, it gives me the satisfaction of being productive. The day after getting back from our holiday in SW France we started harvesting our fruit and veg. If I wasn't being the Rector I'd have time to make us self-sufficient in vegetables, but even so we can enjoy the fruit of the land. I guess, though, I'd quickly lose the enjoyment if we really did have to rely on growing our own produce. When our potatoes run out there's always Tesco up the road.

When I was in Kenya 10 years ago one of the bishops I visited encouraged his clergy to make better use of the land around their churches and houses to supplement their income through food production. At a clergy conference I attended, and spoke at, he gave them detailed instructions about how to keep chickens, and harvest not only the eggs, but the droppings as well. He then invited me - with a day's notice - to speak about rural spirituality. Most books about gardening today assume people have small gardens, but a large income. Most of my fellow clergy have large gardens, a small income and little time. Perhaps there's a niche market here for a book for reluctant gardeners on a small budget.

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