Now as winter closes in on flyover country, the abundance of the land is being harvested. Our garden is done producing and has now been put to bed for the winter with a good dose of compost. Potatoes, onions, and squash are now in cold storage to be used as we need them. Now there are other harvests to accomplish, other traditions to follow.
While sitting out on a favorite spot on a recent morning, I watched the darkness as it was slowly bleached into day, as a cold sun made its appearance. Pheasants crowed in many directions, waking for their flight to combined cornfields. Mallards discussed their flight plans in a nearby wetland, as I quietly watched and listened for the telltale snap of the twig, or the twitch of an ear, or the white fluff of a tail. My vigil was connected to the centuries- old tradition of the late fall hunt for a white tailed deer. The harvest of venison connects me to generations before me, who also pursued the harvest.
A few days earlier we were breaking the season’s first ice, which had formed in the marshes where we waded to muskrat houses for the purpose of harvesting the silky furbearers. Others folks are riding heated combines, bringing in the last of the corn crop. The harvest takes many forms.
The characters in my novel, “Water and Dirt” pursued the many harvests, followed the age- old rituals of the land. Timely harvest is essential as we pursue the bounty of the flyover- fall.