Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with creating a manifesto reflecting wonders, curiosities, and delights currently captivating me – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
F is for…
foison – plentiful harvest; abundance
Perhaps you recognize the word from Shakespeare’s The Tempest:
“Earth’s increase, foison plenty,
Barns and garners never empty,
Vines and clustering bunches growing,
Plants with goodly burden bowing…”
This archaic word, first used in the 14th century, delights me. While we often think of harvests as autumn affairs, foison inspires me to think of it in much broader, expansive terms.
This may well be my favorite vintage postcard image of all time.
It exemplifies Springtime foison to me. While each season may not bring the kind of harvest we think of as we do our autumn gathering, I rather think we should consider our hearts are capable of harvesting the abundant joys all around us all the time.
Soon Spring will bring into my world the tulip magnolias bursting with blooms, the mounds of gorgeous wild violets, and the trees budding their leaves in that indescribably beautiful light-filled green that is the ineffiable vernal hallmark.
Because I enjoy working consciously with the cycles of the natural world, I pay a great deal of attention to the lunar cycle. Every month we have the opportunity to frame our world through the turning wheel of the moon. I think of the new moon as seed planting time; the crescent moon brings sprouting; the first quarter is the growth phase; the gibbous reflects the bud waiting to burst; the full moon is the open blossom transmitting its beauty; the disseminating moon is the period of fruit; and the last quarter is the harvest/foison; with the cycle ending in the dark with the period of composting. From which the new moon will rise again.
The knowledge of optimal farming and gardening based on moon phase attention has long been practiced, but recently I learned about the practice of moon phase harvesting for trees.
Research is now confirming that like affecting ocean tides, the moon also influences the rise and fall of water and sap in trees. The moon harvesting practice cuts trees when the sap is lowest, which offers natural protection that prevents insects and fungus from infesting the wood, and thereby increasing the wood’s durability. Trees are left to dry for a month or two in the forest with their bark and the tree crown and a few side branches intact. This helps reduce the amount of warping and cracking as the wood dries. In this practice trees are cut during the three day period before the new moon, but only during the period between the autumn equinox and winter solstice.
This is an ancient practice, and yet, can you imagine what it would be like if we returned to such respectful slow-time practices instead of the clear-cut razing we do now?
Often when I think of abundance I remember the words of Epicurus:
“Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.”
Isn’t that a wonderful way to think about it?
I’m very grateful for all the quite tangible expressions of abundance I enjoy – love and good friends; work and projects that delight me endlessly; a profusion of books to read and ideas to muse on; the bounty of treasures and beauty that surround me, But most of all
I feel very blessed and celebrate the foison in my life. May our hearts always be open to understanding all the true ways we are infinitely resourced, and may we find the joy in it all.
What abundance are you celebrating? Are there some wonder seeds you’ve planted and are waiting to harvest? Do tell – you know I love to hear.