The Grain does not know . . .

The Grain does not know that the Harvest is coming.

This message came to me over a month ago and settled into my awareness and went silent for a while. Several days ago it came back, chanting and pushing and insistent – a Lammas warning, perhaps.

The Grain does not know that the Harvest is coming.

I heard this originally pertaining to a certain dream series I had several months ago that were about an personal matter. But, it has wider meanings this time of the year.

As I walk out into the countryside, the delicate scent of camomile wafts from the field boundaries and on the path flies are zizzing all around me through the stinging nettles.

Camomile 1      Flies

Along the way I saw the one of the wheat fields had been harvested, and another had not.
Wheat cut            Wheat uncut

The grass is rolled for storage.

Grass baled

The maize tassels are turning russet brown in the bright sun.


The walnuts and conkers are ripening on their respective trees high above my head.

Walnuts             Conkers

I have not yet seen acorns, but not visited the tree who might bear them in a few weeks. The hazelnuts are already being harvested though shells are white and their covers are still downy green and soft, not yet nut brown and dry.

Early hazel harvest   Hazel cluster

The elderberries are still green and compact, though sparse.


However, some rowan berries are red ripe.

Rowan berries

I saw one ripe yew berry, the victim of hedge trimming, but most are still green.

Yew berry on the floor    Yew berries

The haws are turning on some trees and a few blackberries are making an attempt to ripen, but the dry spell, even after all our rains may bring a meagre harvest for the creatures to forage the hedgerows, and for the latter I include me.

Haws      Blackberries

The apples are blushing in the sunshine.

Blushing apples           Blush apple

The mangel wurzles are bursting from the ground; tatties are still flowering, though some are prepared to be taken from the earth.

Mangle Wurzles    Flowering tatties

Field tatties green    Tatties of havest

The Grain does not know that the Harvest is coming.

These photos are idyllic, pastoral, speak of the way of the seasons. The natural order of being. Yet, the words still haunt me. They make me squirm. They make me think deeply about every day in the bright, hot summer.

I find it difficult in part because summer has never been my best season, beyond the mosquito bites to which I am allergic and the absence of school when I was younger. I know that the light emanates from sun and shoots out into the bleakness of space. Some of it radiates this planet we call home in the precise amounts to allow us to live, unless we mess it up and lose the ozone layer and cover ourselves in too thick a blanket of CO2.

All that science acknowledged and intellectually understood, the part of me that deals with and senses and feels the energies of all that surrounds me tells me that the plants and the animals invoke the light and call down the heat at this time of year. This is the oppressiveness that I feel nearly every summer, except when their calls go unheeded and it is damp and chilly and mostly overcast. In the height of summer even the shade can feel too heavy as the leaves pull in the sun’s energy and they turn a dark green, and often crackle in the wind.

The Grain does not know that the Harvest is coming.

The summer is not passed. The harvest is beginning. The days are gradually contracting, but it is still hard to notice. The sun feels brighter and hotter, though we are slowly tilting away from its strength.
The wheat and maize are standing tall and stiff until they are taken down. The winds glide in graceful patterns over the barley fields. The oats shake and nod in the breeze. None of the individual stocks or stems knows their fate. None of them realise they work for us. None of them know we humans will in due course take their lives away. And we and the other creatures do so to sustain and maintain our lives in the great food chain by and in which we are all, as living beings, bound.

Sobering thoughts. Serious contemplations. In the wider understanding of consumerism, we may not giveth, but we surely have the power to taketh away – take away the life of any other creature or plant that is in our way, that we can exploit for gain, that we can create a demand for. And in so doing we destroy a little more of ourselves. We continue to reap what we cannot sow. In many cases what can never be sown again.

The Grain may not know that the Harvest is coming, but we do.

6 thoughts on “The Grain does not know . . .

  1. I have a few problems with this (and lot of that is because I have now incorporated Biocentrism into my spiritual framework) so what I am about to write should not be taken as any sort of insult or affront to yourself but is offered as a different perspective.
    Firstly, the saying that you have shared reads somewhat humanistic to me. That is to say that it is implicit in that saying that our own sense of time creates the framework for the saying. It is reliant upon a general acceptance that all things experience time as humans do. Which would be the case if time was experienced the same by every living thing.
    The inconvienient truth however is that the “speed” of time is subjective to the form of life doing the experiencing. This has largely been proved by the evidence of animal behaviour and how they can perform feats way beyond the humans ability. We also know that the closer something travels to the speed of light, then time itself changes. Time is not consistent. This is important in this context. Because if time itself is not consistent then the question of the direction of time is also brought into question. IMO, it is possible that the direction of time may, to a degree, also be experienced differently by different organisms. Because the direction of time is just the framework the experiencer creates to stitich together events so as to make them comprehensible. I would suggest that the human model of times’ direction may not be as universally experienced in the natural world.
    So the saying that the “Grain may not know the harvest is coming” is using the premise that the direction of time is both consistent in speed and direction, and for me, this is not the case. The forming of the grain to me is an expression of a life interaction with the cosmos, an expression that speaks to me that life is “the” guiding force of the universe and not a consequence of it. The fact that the grain will drop off the stalk eventually, speaks to me that it’s intention is actually set before any of life interacts with and through it.
    So the saying for me, says more about how the human experiences time more than the perception (and consequently, the intention and consequences) of the apparent subject of the saying. This should not though, be read as a framework to negate our own behaviours with the natural world. Our interactions should be honourable (which I know yours are) in both intention and actions with the rest of nature. Sometimes though, I feel as empathic humans, we are sometimes guilty of imposing an emotional response onto something that may not actually be the reality of the situation.

    • I appreciate your perspective here. It may be also coming from the original connection I had with the message and projecting it on what is happening around me in the fields — a way of dealing that moves it away from other situation and the larger harvest gave a framework.

  2. ‘The grain does not know the harvest is coming.’ This is a ‘harrowing’ and powerful insight…

    I also feel the sense of oppression, the arrival of grey clouds, humidity and tension after mid July’s baking heat, as the harvesters role out.

    I wonder at the relationship between modern farmers and their grain crops. Although our processes of harvesting are different, the farmers I used to know from when I worked with horses had a deep care for their crops, their lives and livelihood were bound up with them. I feel that the fields and the farmers, know this tension. This tension surrounding the harvest days, upon which our lives once depended. A matter of life and death.

    I sense that the grain senses ‘something’ is coming, but perhaps does not understand the full implications of its sacrifice and death?…

    • I wonder if there was a different connection when the farmers were not sequestered in their huge combine harvesters and GPS dependent tractors. I do believe farmers care for their crops, as stockmen for their herds. The relationship has altered in the past century. Perhaps the grain does not, as you say, understand but does feel something coming.

  3. The grain waves bravely having no knowledge of what lies ahead. All around me are earth’s examples in living totally in now.

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