On a glorious Fall October Sunday afternoon outside a church, a minister and two parishioners are harvesting pecans. The canopy of the tree above towers at least 30-40 feet. Pecans drop to the ground, some of them hit the minister and the parishioners who remark about their minor impact on arms and shoulders.
As the three people engage in conversation, there is talk about eradicating rare weeds, previous tours on active military duty in far flung locations. There is also discussion about the church, especially the youth of the church.
The pecans that have fallen from the tree lay on the ground in the grass. Some are older and have that burnt black covering indicating that they are not good for consumption. Others, however have a cocoa brown shell exterior and promise to have ideal interior.
The minister observes how to crack the shell of the pecan in order to dig out the nut that is inside. The two parishioners are very adept at doing this process. There is conversation about preparing the pecans for future delicacies including Pecan pie.
Here today, although there is a continuing pandemic, racial unrest, and economic calamity, all of these realities so painfully true.
Now, at least for this brief period of time, there is sunlight filtering down through the huge tree canopy on three humans who are picking up pecans while enjoying each other’s company.
One parishioner astutely observes:
“ It’s like we are under the umbrella of God. The coverage of grace and sustainment is always there. Sometimes humans may venture forth from under the umbrella. “
We are constantly being bombarded with lots of information, the status regarding Covid-19, how the economy is trying to recover, what new protocols people are having to resort to in order to complete tasks. All of this can feel so overwhelming, can tax the mind and the spirit. Many of us are asking “ When will this all end ? “
What will a new normal look like ?
So much uncertainty
And yet there is the consistency of enjoying a Fall afternoon, noticing the beginning of leaves turning color, of picking up pecans from the ground and considering if they are good or not ?
These types of traditional activity not only inform how some communities function, how people interact with one another, but more importantly it reminds us about the importance of being human.
Spending time together looking at a handful of pecans, considering where they have come from and contemplating what they will compromise in terms of a food commodity in the future.
But most of all, pressing down on the pause button on the machinery of fast paced life and allowing oneself to just pay attention to the beauty of the world and the present moment.
May it be so.