The disappointment of there being no Harvest Home – Voiced by Uncle George and the eight-year-old Janet, 1918
(Extracted from My Friends the Miss Boyds by Jane Duncan)
“I don’t think there is going to be a Harvest Home this year,” George said.
“That’s foolishness, George Sandison!” I was indignant. “There is always a Harvest Home. Why isn’t there going to be one.”
George leaned on his rake and stared away at the Ben in that searching way, and Tom said: “Well, ye see, since the War things is not the same. Apples and raisins and things is very, very dear, and your father says the Laird kind of feels that he canna afford it like he used to.”
“But we don’t have to have raisin dumpling! We could sing and dance—“
“Listen,” George said. “I don’t think we should be speaking about it. If Sir Torquil feels he canna afford it, to be speaking about it and showing that a person is disappointed will chust make things worse for him. For me, I am just going to go on as usual as if I had never heard o’ such a thing as a Harvest Home.”
“But you are disappointed all the same, George?”
“Och aye, surely. But when a person’s disappointed it’s better to be disappointed in to yourself and not be bawling about it at people. That only makes it worse …. Man, Tom, I wish I had a sweetie! You wouldna have a black-strippit ball about you?”
I have another blog, a music one, where I write posts about what is commonly known as “the tracks of my years”. I know Janet Sandison loved music too, but the tracks of her years would have been very different from mine, having been born 50 years earlier.
As the September full moon, the Harvest Moon, will appear in our skies tonight, I have just shared the song of the same name by Neil Young over on the other blog. I have a sneaking suspicion that Janet and Twice, who like Neil Young both felt a close bond with nature, might well have enjoyed it too.
All full moons have a name, given to them by the Native Americans who kept track of the months by the lunar calendar. The Harvest Moon can occur in either September or October, as it’s the name given to the full moon that lands closest to the autumnal equinox. This year we reached the equinox on Sunday the 23rd Sept, that pivot point in the year after which we can expect more hours of dark than light in our days. Had it not landed that way, it would have been called the Corn Moon.
Harvests were very important to the residents of Reachfar, both their own and the big, onerous harvests supervised by Janet’s father at Poyntdale. At the end of it however there was a celebration, a Harvest Home, to give thanks for the food that would be available for the coming year.
We sometimes forget to give thanks to those who are still responsible for the annual cycle of planting and harvesting, but as I look up at the Harvest Moon tonight, I promise to remember them.