Most of my life, I have lived here in South Dakota, the land of ever changing seasons and wild prairie winds. Here, it is clear there is a time for everything, a time for turning dirt and planting seeds, a time for front porch sitting in the shade to cool down after a long day in the sun, a time for tailgate picnics at sunset after a hard day of work, and a time for bundling up by the fireplace, watching the snow gently fall through the window.
Seasons give us a rhythm we can rely on, a steady beat from the earth of how things should be.
Most born and raised midwesterners will tell you that they love the change throughout the year. The gradual fade from one season to the next provides us with built in cycles of rest, work, relaxation, and reward. It is a steady pattern we can depend on.
As a farm kid, I fully appreciate the risk and work that goes into a bountiful harvest. The weeks of preparing the ground and planting the seeds, the months of praying for just the right amount of sunshine and rain, and the long days and late nights it takes during harvest season to fully reap the rewards of a good year.
As a creative, I have learned that my work also cycles in seasons. More times than not, I wish the calendar would tell me which season I am in, the same way it tells my dad, the farmer. But unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. Instead, I look for other indicators.
For creatives, our planting season is when we are playing with new ideas and following the prompts placed on our hearts. It is when we are meeting new people and sharing the stories behind our work and our why.
Our summer is when the conversation around our work ignites. When people begin to get curious, ask questions, and tell their friends and family about what we do. It is when we lean into honing our skills and techniques and get brave about reaching out into uncharted territory. It is when we grow and stretch, reaching for that audacious dream.
When harvest finally comes, we are delighted to finally find the ones whom our work speaks to most. The people who choose to invest in our work because it feels like home to them. Harvest for creatives is found in the sales of our work, the gallery features, the licensing agreements, the big installments, the recognition, and the everyday conversations from people who are proud to own and share the things we have poured our heart and souls into.
For creatives, our winter is our dry spells, the time for rest and recharge. During this time,we get quiet and introspective. We burrow down deep into books and the work of others, watching and waiting for the spark of inspiration to strike again, just waiting for a little fuel for the fire burning inside of us to create.
One thing that helps me when I am in the middle of an inordinately long season of planting and waiting is to think about what it takes to grow a baby. As a mom of three, I deeply understand the work, rest, and waiting it takes to bring a little one into this world. For women, it takes nine months to grow a baby, but for female elephants it takes upwards of 18 months! When I’m in a typically long growing season with no harvest in sight, remembering that not all babies grow at the same rate helps me keep my perspective.
This fall, I encourage you to reflect on what season you may be in right now. Wherever you are today, know your harvest is coming. The spring and summer may take years, but rest assured the seasons will always cycle, exactly the way God created them to be.
Originally published in Gritty Faith Volume 12: The Harvest. Read this issue here.
Gritty Faith Blog
GRITTY FAITH highlights the stories of fighters, survivors, dream chasers and determined warriors. Filled with the stories, photography and art of those in the trenches, our quarterly publication sparks authentic connections through conversation and art.