“The Autumn leaves drift past my window, the autumn leaves of red and gold…”
So goes the opening lines of September Song if I’m not much mistaken? Well this year, there have been dried and dead leaves littering what used to be the grass in my garden for at least the last 6 weeks! The farmers started telling me in late July that the harvest would be very early this year, and the Combines are likely to have finished their annual outings along the lanes of Staffordshire and Shropshire well before you are reading this in early September! Not good news for the chip lovers of this world, but then again, there have been lower drying costs than usual for the wheat harvest – or so I am told!
Summer is turning out to be as long and as hot and dry as Winter was long and wet and cold. (Of course, to write that is to invite the deluge to hit, I am well aware – but summer schedules dictate that this is to be written in early August, so you must excuse me if my weather predictions go awry!)
I am feeling a bit elegiac as I write this month’s offering – largely I expect because I have just returned from a very refreshing 24 hour retreat spent on a smallholding near Cleobury Mortimer. Nothing like a few hours spent contemplating rolling countryside complete with ducks and hens, cattle and sheep and a couple of pigs plus piglets for amusement! A very good preparation for this month’s harvest celebrations – which won’t actually come until the very end of the month, but it does not harm to prepare a bit early.
This year too sees a new venture for the church in this parish. In previous years we have tried to provide a service in St Mary’s in September, the month of dedication to St Mary the Virgin, and as a counterpoint to our Rogation Service in May or June. This year however, by kind invitation of the landlord at the Dartmouth Arms, we have decided to hold a harvest celebration at the pub in Burnhill Green – which is undeniably easier for more people to access these days! So on the evening of Tuesday, 25th September, we shall meet at the Dartmouth Arms for a celebration of Harvest, followed by a bring and share supper (although I think Nick is kindly providing some food as well) – I am sure that no one need go hungry and I hope it will be a good community event for all – but especially for those residents of Burnhill Green who maybe feel ‘a bit forgotten’ in the greater scheme of things as most of our activity has of necessity to be focussed in Pattingham. So come along that evening for a taste of something ‘a bit different’! – And it is yet another opportunity for us to try another experiment in taking the church out into the community – as per our Mission statements.
Meanwhile the children will be returning to school, students will be preparing for the new academic term, everyone else is beginning to pack away the summer clothes and prepare for the colder season to come…(maybe this year with some enthusiasm!) As the evenings draw in and the season of mellow fruitfulness arrives, why not join us to thank God for our many gifts, and maybe find new / old friends to treasure?
“….for I’ll miss you most of all, my darling, when autumn leaves, start to fall!”