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Tuscan Harvest

28th October 2011Blog, Qigong, ReflectionsNo Comments

This September, Terry and I biked with Backroads in Tuscany. The sunflower fields were bare as most of the field crops had been harvested, but the grapes were plump on the vines. Each of our meals was evidence of the bounty of the local region. The autumn is a time to appreciate the fruits of the summer growing season and to nourish ourselves with fresh, local food. In Italy we ate figs, tomatoes, mushrooms, and eggplant along with fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheeses. The famous Florentine beef, lamb, and rabbit we consumed were local as well.

In a qigong practice, the golden harvest season or Indian summer is an additional season of the year, between summer and fall. In this season of bounty, Qigong students cultivate the emotional energy of gratitude to balance worries and over thinking. It is a time to focus on the earth and nutrition in all its aspects. How can we feed ourselves in a way that supports our health and that of our environment? I support the American Farmland Trust because it wrestles with the questions of maintaining farmland and open spaces in our communities, promoting local farmers’ markets, and right livelihood for farmers. One of the ways AFT raises awareness and funds is by bringing together chefs, farmers, and donors to enjoy harvest dinners. These meals nourish the farmland cause and help build supportive communities.

While the golden afterglow of summer is still with us, what practices can nourish us and prepare our bodies for the colder, darker days to come? What images fill us with gratitude and nurture our spirits? Qigong standing (or sitting) practices for this season help to ground us. The healing sound and gestures for the Earth, the element for this season, remind us of the bounty in our lives and give us a practice to give thanks to the earth and the heavens. The monkey frolic brings us on an imaginary journey through the trees, reaching and grasping branches, eating, and offering fruit.

See my Qigong – Earth post for more practical details.