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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Celebrating the Harvest

There is a 700 pound pumpkin next door.  My elderly neighbor Mr. Young is not young.  But every year, he takes joy in growing enormous pumpkins from small seedlings.  The fragile seedlings begin in little trays in his basement.  After the last frost of the spring they are planted, and then tended by him with loving care all summer and fall. Last weekend a friend came over with a backhoe to move the massive pumpkin from his back yard to the front.  Next weekend his grandchildren will come over and carve it in time for Halloween, removing buckets and buckets of pumpkin guts.  Mr. Young is not one to brag.  But he is clearly  proud of this year’s whopper.

All around us are signs of an abundant harvest. At the farm where my wife works, they had their last CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) pick up last night. Happy customers left with bulging baskets of food and flowers. In Vermont anyway, it has been a good year for all the local CSA’s.  The earth has been particularly generous this season.

In the midst of this abundant harvest, it is worth reflecting back to the planting season.  All this abundance began last spring in the form of seedlings and the back breaking work of planting and tending gardens and pumpkin patches.

Now apply the metaphor to your work and life.  Those of you with particularly good memories will remember last week’s blog about the award winning napkin drawer Jim Dawkins.  I sent Jim a copy of the blog, informing him that he had just received his 15 minutes of fame.

Jim wrote back with a reflection on his work as a professor at Florida State University.  I thought his comments were worth sharing with you in this harvest season.  It is the least I could do for someone who has blown their 15 minutes of fame on my blog.  Jim writes:

The return on my investment (i.e. the success of my own hand) is confirmed when someone else makes something equally or more creative with that particular seed that was planted, either an idea or a full-blown rendering.

Since we're entering the Thanksgiving season it hit me that planting the seed should be celebrated just as much as reaping the fruit during harvest. I can't think of anything specific, but I know there are both simple and elaborate planting festivals or ceremonies all over the world.  I guess where I'm going with this is that my 'simple' act of drawing (and teaching) will hopefully inspire others (my students) to embrace the joy of drawing, of improving an unproven but innate skill, of making something better out of something good. Plant it and enjoy watching it grow. Nothing like "growing" design students at FSU or young professionals in the architecture and interior design business - what a reward!

The earth yields its abundance when we faithfully plant small seeds and tend them.  The university yields creative and caring students when people like Jim Dawkins teach and tend them.

In her book Call to the Soul, Marjory Bankson defines call this way:

Call has to do with discovering our particular field of action or the part of God’s realm that is ours to tend at any given time.”

What seeds are you planting these days?  What garden are you tending?

Doug Wysockey-Johnson
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  1. thank you very much for this useful interior design related topic. my appreciation is for your nice presentation.

  2. I always stop what am doing to read and ponder this weekly blog. The writings touch my life so vividly. I also see much paradox with good and evil or seeds and harvest. Life and call are strengthened when there when elements are present.

  3. At the age of 71 I feel I am reaping the harvest of a lifetime of searching and struggling for answers regarding a faith that resonated with the loving God I heard about from the same pulpit that I heard about the God of wrath, hell and damnation. Only the loving God of many faith traditions now exists for me.
    My first marriage was based on the rules and regulations and not my own intuition which, in hindsight, was screaming very loudly. Not unexpectedly the marriage ended in divorce even though I made every attempt to appear to be happily married.
    A second marriage ensued and this ended in death February 2010.
    Then.....in the fall of our lives a high school sweetheart and I reconnected, as his wife had also died. We are to be married October 30th which also reflects that fall season of our lives. We both feel that the seeds planted during those early years have finally come to fruition. We both needed time to strengthen our own spiritual and emotional lives to have the fulfillment we now both experience. CELEBRATE WITH US ON THE 30th.