Many of us have a special affection
for our birth-month. I was born in September 1942, so you
will not be surprised when I tell you that I love September.
When this came up in a recent conversation, there was another
person who was also a September baby – and she declared that she
did not like September at all because it was marking the ending,
the dying, of the year. September and October marked the
exhaustion of the year. You will fully understand that I spoke
out with a much more positive viewpoint of the autumn, and
especially in favour of glorious September.
I was born in one of the small houses
on our family farm; a couple of fields distant from the rickyard
where the men were feeding the sheaves from the corn-ricks that
Grandfather had thatched into the threshing machine with clouds
of dust that gave this harvest-scene an artistic soft-focus.
This memory is formed by the many subsequent threshing scenes
in which I had to help as soon as I was old enough; my job,
together with a cousin, was to wheel the sacks of newly-threshed
grain round to the granary; there each sack was winched up to
the grain store, ready for the mill below.
We had not received the small group
of German P.O.W.'s at that stage in the War; they came later
and were a great help to Grandfather and his two sons – one of
whom was my father. They taught me to say 'Good day', 'Good
morning' and 'Good bye', but you could hardly describe me as
speaking fluent German by 1945 when I was but 3 years
old! I still have a hazy image of those men, far from their
homes, in my mind's eye to this day.
September reminds me of the beauty
that comes with maturity. How right and good it is to give
thanks to God for the harvest of the fields and orchards and
gardens. The maturing process is also found in the wisdom of
the farmers and gardeners which they acquire year by year,
through the Monty Dons of this world giving the benefit of their
expertise. All of us can benefit from different ways of doing
things in order to have a successful growing season and a
harvest worth the hard work that has been necessary. It would
be a poor year indeed if there were no improvements for which to
give thanks in this time of harvest.
I give thanks for the mature way in
which Silton is facing the future in a time of change and new
developments. You only have to go round a traditional event
like the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show to see new machinery
and equipment on display; unusual breeds of animals large and
small; and it is a delight to see how traditional skills
produce so many new variations on display in the craft tents.
It would be quite unfair to dismiss the show as the 'same old
things year after year'.
Yes, the year changes; and change may
well be unwelcome to some; but not to me; I suppose it's being a
September baby that I see the beauty of maturity in the autumnal
countryside changing around us. Changes may challenge us older
(but hopefully wiser) folk, but the next generation of younger
people seem more than capable to deal with and indeed look
forward to those challenges. The ages of some of the
youngsters leading their prizewinning animals in the Grand
Parade showed me that the future is safe in their young hands.
God bless them.
Let not September and October be
signs of decay and despair, but rather let their beauty and
fruitfulness cheer your hearts and enable you to put your trust
in God who is the source of all life and growth, and will see us
through every challenge and change.
God bless you.