I sat in the church in my home village, waiting for the Harvest Festival Service to start. I had been visiting the village and just sitting, for a few weeks, trying to re-connect with my happy childhood times at my grandparents’ farm. I had just gone into remission from Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma, a blood cancer that had nearly killed me. The chemotherapy had left me blind and wheelchair bound.
I found that I did not know who I was any more. Gone was the fit and active woman who cycled, ran, walked, and swam 30 lengths of the swimming pool each day, to be replaced by someone who needed help to do even the tiniest thing. I simply dud not know who I was now.
Over the weeks, I re-lived my happy times at the farm, especially the HARVEST time. My grandfather grew wheat and barley, as well as keeping herds of cattle and also many chickens who ran free in the fields, scratching around as chickens should. But harvest time was a great time of celebration and joy, as the wheat and barley was cut and made into stooks in the fields. My grandfather gave employment to many of the men in the village at this time. I too stooked the corn. It was an amazing feeling when I made my first stook. The sun was scorching hot, and everyone was mopping their brow.
It was like one great big party out in the fields, and my grandmother brought huge urns of tea into the fields along with plates and plates if sandwiches. All the men were laughing and joking, and some were singing. It was a most amazing time.
As the vicar stood at the back of the church waiting to process up, the organ started up, and we were all singing “We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land” except that I burst unto tears immediately. Those days were gone now, and my grandparents were dead, and here was I, blind and in a wheelchair.
It was kind of bittersweet, i loved the Harvest Festival, but grieved also for those wonderful days gone by, Farming is very different now to what it was then.