Harvest Lessons Once Again



journal entry:

I have long had a favorite poem. It is titled Red Geraniums by Martha Haskell Clark. In its three verses is found a precious reminder. That reminder is to be thankful for everything, learn to enjoy simple things and see the spiritual in whatever comes.  Watching my family harvesting potatoes brought it to mind. The first verse is:

Red Geraniums

        Life did not bring me silken gowns,

        Nor jewels for my hair,

        Nor signs of gabled foreign towns

        In distant countries fair,

But I can glimpse, beyond my pane, a green and friendly hill,

And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.


Grandpa will harvest red potatoes twice this season. Today the potatoes will come out of the ground. Grandpa will lift them with his pitchfork and grandchildren will kneel on dirty knees and dig for them with dirty hands and put them into the wagon. They will say “ahh” when they find a big one and “ooooh” when the quantity is large and they are surprised. After the harvest, grandpa will plant again and harvest in October.

The potatoes and other harvest blessings are like the red geraniums on the window sill except that today’s reminders of simple things are red potatoes in burlap bags on the floor of the garage.

        The brambled cares of everyday,

        The tiny humdrum things,

        May bind my feet when they would stray,

        But still my heart has wings

While red geraniums are bloomed against my window glass,

And low above my green-sweet hill  the gypsy wind-clouds pass.


I wonder who lives in each house with geraniums blooming in the windows through the winter months. My mother could always make geraniums bloom through the winter but I have a dismal record of success. Grandpa and I have one special drive which takes us past a very little white frame home whose small kitchen window has drawn-back curtains . . . and geraniums blooming on the window sill. For as long as we can remember, we have looked for them and they have always been there. I always say “how do they do that?” and Grandpa always says “I don’t know, but it’s nice of you to keep asking me.”

Last time we took the drive the curtains were closed and the geraniums were gone. The grass was long and there were no cats on the porch. I imagined what that meant and it tugged at my heart.


        And if my dreamings ne’re come true,

        The brightest and the best,

        But leave me lone my journey through,

        I’ll set my heart at rest,

And thank God for home-sweet things, a green and friendly hill,

And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.


“Who does not thank for little, will not thank for much.”

Estonian Proverb

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