Friday, October 30, 2015

Honoring our Faith in Harvest Time

Dear Friends in Earth Care,

I serve a rural, farmworking community in Northern California. Over 85% of the school district is Latino, and over 50% of the people we collaborate with at the Resource Center where I work are farmworkers. Our lives together are marked by immigration and the movement of the seasons and the work day on the farms. Our work together reminds me that a just food system (that honors the needs of workers and the earth and all people who eat) is part of eco-justice.

This month we've been preparing for Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), a tradition thousands of years old that's influenced by indigenous Mexican and Catholic rituals. We've labored over sugar skulls and papel picado and memorial stones for a labyrinth walk. Last night we gathered at our community's last farmers market of the season to give thanks for the lives of those we've loved and to give thanks for another successful season of planting, cultivating, and harvesting.

Many of the people who joined in the observance are far from their homes, migrants who have come to Pescadero to work on the land so that their families in their homelands can have a better life. They braved traumatic crossings to make it here. They toil under the sun in literally back-breaking work. They grieve for the places and customs and people they know.

It's the end of this season that reminds me of how we are called to care for creation in all seasons. The end of the harvest season reminds me that winter is coming.

Winter is not fun. Another Midwestern friend who lives in the Bay Area and I have been talking about how we still have all our good winter clothes with us because we cannot bear giving them away--sturdy boots, thick coat, warm hat and gloves. Winter is harsh and hard  and it means that things end.

This morning, I walked on the beach, listening to the waves and watching the birds. In the distance, there was a mound on the sand, and as I got closer I recognized it as the corpse of a seal. Crows were picking at it, and I stopped to take in the life of this creature.

The waves lapped against its body, ready to reclaim it when the tide was right. 

Its life is over, yet it's sustenance for the crows and for other parts of creation.

It's the end of this season, the death of what we know, but death always means life, no matter where we are. 

Dia de los Muertos celebrates life and acknowledges that the dead and those we love are always with us. The change in season reminds us to honor and celebrate the time of life we are in and the place on this planet we get to call home.

with hope,
Abby Mohaupt, Vice Moderator
Presbyterians for Earth Care

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