Thanking the Birds and the Bees, the Vines and Trees.

Two Bean Seeds

Domestic hub research event, 7 March 2020

In Season: Thanking the Birds and the Bees, the Vines and Trees. An autumn harvest celebration to give thanks to those who have sustained me this year.  An invitation to the community of people involved in my research to join me in a ceremony acknowledging the intertwining of lives, bodies and energies implicit in harvest. I am posting this in the midst of covid 19 lock-down and already the innocent physical intimacy of sharing words and thoughts feels a lifetime away. I feel that we celebrated the last days of the Holocene, blissfully unaware of what lay ahead.

The small group gathered in my back garden to share pagan prayer and participate in ceremonial hand-washing with rainwater collected from the first rains of the year. A physical manifestation of a perceptual transition into a sacred space within the everyday space.

I chose a traditional Celtic prayer, which I adapted slightly. The original text reads We Bathe your palms, my dyslexic reading of it was we bathe in your palms, with the associated image of the human self cupped in the palms of the biosphere. I also amended the ninth gift from the gift of true nobility to The gift of patient listening

We bathe in your palms
In the showers of wine,
In the crook of the kindling,
In the seven elements,
In the sap of the tree,
In the milk of honey,

We place nine pure, choice gifts
In your clear beloved face:

The gift of form,
The gift of voice,
The gift of fortune,
The gift of goodness,

The gift of eminence,
The gift of charity,
The gift of integrity,

The gift of patient listening,
The gift of apt speech.

The thanks-giving walk started with the two heritage beans growing in vegetable garden, then plants, birds and insects were addressed in turn as we slowly circumnavigated the garden. Chickens, trees, soil, veggies were introduced and honoured, and our shared history acknowledged throughout the extended conversational walk. Stories and gardening tips were exchanged, symbiotic relationships discussed and the intricacies of each entity admired with an attitude of wonder and excitement. It is worth noting here that the autumn garden is not the picturesque explosion of life exhibited by the spring and summer garden. Plants have fruited and are dying back; the beans hang dry pods on withered vines, tomatoes are succumbing to blight, the glowing orb of the peach harbours guava moth larvae and the ground is dry after months of drought. But there are tomatoes to be picked, passionfruit to be gathered and peach flesh can be pared and the affected sections disposed of.

Norrigewok Pean and Scarlet Lady Runner Beans setting pods for Autumn harvest

The ceremony concluded in the courtyard at the back of the house, where I have prepared a seasonal feast beneath the grape arbor, laden with bunches of plump black grapes.

Richard Orjis picking grapes for the feast

The ceremony of acknowledgement and thanksgiving for the generosity of the vegetables, fruiting trees and vines, flowers and luxurious shade-giving foliage. The vigour of the soil, the energetic cycles of growth regeneration, death, decomposition. The event suggested itself through the bounty of the grapevine, more grapes than our family and neighbours can eat. But more importantly, it grew from my desire to introduce these companions to my human research community and to introduce these people to the entities who have seeded and nurtured my fledgeling steps of un-knowing.

thank you to all