The Peacemaking Tables of Autumn

Peacemakers celebrate the turning of each season. Moving toward the Autumnal Equinox, warm days are shorter and nights, cooler and longer. Here in the Valley with its rich agricultural history, the seasons are punctuated by the foods we plan for, grow, harvest, and bring to the table. As the harvest is gathered in, we are invited to celebrate and to give thanks for the fertility of the land, the labors of those who work it, and our opportunity to share in the abundance. 

In the past, Autumn had many tables where fruits and vegetables were sorted. Farm families and workers still do these tasks today. When work was completed, the tables were transformed into community banquet tables. As you contemplate the work of the harvest, consider how these tasks relate to the work of Peacemaking.

  • The Sorting Table: At the sorting table foods are divvied up according to their purposes. This task is for those who have worked long enough to know the crops and the uses to which they are best suited. Strength to carry and knowledge of each plant’s uses are the skills needed for this work.
  • The Preserving Table: At this table, the richness of summer will be preserved for the year to come. Which foods are best canned or frozen? What jams and sauces can be made? This work requires wisdom and experience and people willing to learn.
  • The Storing Table: Which foods will go into the root cellar? Do they need to ripen a bit more in the sun? Do stems need to be dried and braided so they can hang? Physical strength for ferrying things to the root cellar or the expertise in proper storage come in handy.
  • The Seeding and Drying Table:  Here seeds are harvested and sets selected for next year’s planting. Who kept track of which kind of squash didn’t produce and which beans really did? Someone with a discerning eye and one who has kept detailed notes is needed for this.
  • The Sharing Table: What foods can be shared now? What can be traded or bartered for other goods or services? Who in the community needs what? One of the most important responsibilities of our abundance is to ensure that everyone is able to participate in what will sustain them now — and in the year ahead. It’s always helpful to have an intuitive person tuned into the needs of others and one who can negotiate a bargain.
  • The Feasting Table: When the work was done, everyone shared in some way in washing and setting the tables and preparing for the feast. Platters of roasted corn, potatoes, and squash abound. Pickled beets and beans supplemented the meal. The food was blessed, and the abundance, shared. The organization and collaboration made the feasting even sweeter.

After the meal, tables were cleared and dishes washed while a band set up. Then those tables that served so many purposes were moved to the side and the dancing and celebration continued with everyone who had given from their abundance and those who had received. 

What examples of these tasks exist in our Valley today? How do these relate to Peacemaking? Surely sharing with others out of our abundance, whether it is food, money, time or other talents is Peacemaking. Gathering, sorting, preserving, preparing and sharing our bounty are surely the work of Peacemakers.  

Peacemaking, is the work of this season…and every season. How well have you identified your skills and knowledge for Peacemaking? How willing are you to share your gifts of Peace with the world? Let us count our blessings, offer thanks, share our gifts with the world then get up — or sit where you are — and dance and laugh — transforming your enjoyment into gratitude, joy, and Peace. What are your contributions to the work and the fulfillment of Autumn Peace?

Salaam, Shalom, Peace, Blessed be.