culture & community food

Planting Seeds to Harvest (or; Waiting on Covid)

by Myranda — October 8, 2020
A cabbage ready for harvest surrounded by fallen autumn leaves.

Some people planted seeds and are now enjoying their harvest. Others, sow metaphorical seeds for future use, once Covid-19 has passed.

I’ve been thinking about the harvest a lot lately. In part because here in Yellowknife, we’re well into autumn. The leaves have shifted from vibrant yellows to faded, crisp browns, pulled from the trees to dance around my ankles when the wind gusts. My Facebook feed is full of friends and family posting about their hauls. For many, Covid-19 seems to have brought people back to producing for themselves. They baked breads in winter and planted seeds to harvest over the summer.

Garden carrots, freshly picked and piled, still covered in soil.

My mom planted her first vegetable garden this year. Flowers have been a staple of the family yard as long as I can remember. This year, she wanted to learn to grow food to harvest. Though a few tweaks – like planting the potatoes earlier – are needed, her first efforts were very successful. Her carrots and radishes did well. She got some good beets. The cauliflower did great. Her greens were amazing. I very much enjoyed the fruits (or rather, the veggies) of her labour over the summer months. My brother went hunting and finally got his moose. His family will have a freezer full of game for the winter. Most of this year’s family Thanksgiving will be harvested, from gardens and forests.

Hands holding an open radish seed pod.
Seeds, ready for planting next year.

Now it is autumn and the harvest starts in earnest. This time last year, I was just over a week away from leaving for my next big travel adventure. I’d taken six weeks off work, five of those to spend traipsing around Europe. I wanted to take time enough away from work to truly turn off, to take in the sights and the food and the beauty. Travel is a way I plant the seeds of creativity, seeking to harvest them throughout the year.

Come December 2nd, it will have been a year since I last travelled. The knowledge has been challenging for me. So much of my identity is tied to my adventures. Even travelling within Canada is not an option right now. I would be required to isolate two weeks after my return. While I can work remotely for my main job, I’d be putting a staffing strain on the bookstore (where I work part-time) for the length of the travel plus my quarantine. It’s hard and it makes me sad.

I don’t want to dwell on sadness. Instead, I’m focussing on thinking of new, different harvests.

Restrictions will change. Other staff will be better-positioned to cover for me after the Christmas buying season at the bookstore for a trip within Canada. For now, I can also squirrel money away and do research for places to go once the world is a little safer. I can plant seeds to harvest.

This pandemic, too, shall pass. Even if it doesn’t feel like it some days. We just need to harvest the joy that is ready, and know new joy will grow. We just have to plant it.

A smiling woman stands framed by a doorway, holding up her harvest; a small white pumpkin.

Thank you to my friend Tina for showing me around her garden so I could take pictures, and for sharing her joy at having grown this beautiful white pumpkin.

What seeds have you sown lately?

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