Harvest Lunch


I fill the coffee pot each day, staring outside while it bubbles and steams on the stove. The garden is overgrown, life pushing its way through mesh and bark and turf. Moss holds the lawn together and prickly grasses, long and wispy stand tall leaning only in the rain. Upturned pots and an abandoned hanging basket are notes, a memory of time passing. Another year of plans put aside as life takes over. A sudden flurry reminds me that the garden is not only for me.

Today is harvest lunch, a host of winged visitors gleaming under autumn sun gathering to take their pick. Two rowan trees lean, naked now but for soft, overripe berries which drop with the faintest breath of wind. Tiny flashes of yellow dart through the long grass, blue tits searching for the ruby morsels. A tall, dark ivy strangles one of the rowans, reaching high above its branches, it’s thick foliage the perfect spot for a blackbird family to wait its turn. Here they nested in summer, losing little ones to predators but still they reap the benefits of the ivy’s grip. High up, two crows sit watch, holding court and flapping their wings once in a while to remind everyone of their presence. A flash of red against cornflower blue sky is a bullfinch, now two, dipping in and out swiftly to grab berries from under the nose of a plump thrush. Then a swoop of starlings, young, boisterous, sends everyone into the air. Branches sway and more berries drop. In a moment, only the crows remain, steadfast. Lunch is over for today.

Yesterday, under dull skies, the garden was bleak, a burden, another missed opportunity. Today, it is a garden of Eden, a safe place where all comers take their turn. There is plenty to go around. So I’ll leave the lawnmower in the outhouse, put away my gardening gloves. For a while at least. Until the feast is over and each feathered creature has had their fill.

AutumnSarah Davy