Monday, June 1, 2015

Fallow Time

© Copyright Richard Hoare
Talking with a friend of mine recently, I mentioned that I had felt myself in a low period. Not depressed or upset. The term that rose into my consciousness: fallow.

I thought about what I knew of the word; mostly from years of living in farm country. Driving around the region where I live, I noticed fields left fallow. The term settled deeply into me. What does it mean to be fallow?

I decided to investigate the term 'fallow.' Encyclopedia Britannica online told this origin story of its usage: " Europe and the Middle East in early times, arable land was divided into two field or groups of fields; one group was planted to wheat, barley, or rye, while the other was allowed to lie fallow until the next planting season to recover its fertility. After cropping, the first group of fields was turned to fallow, with the livestock permitted to graze on the stubble and enrich the soil with their droppings." From "not in use; inactive."

That spacious, blank feeling I was having had all the sense of being fallow. I didn't feel particularly generative. Nor did I feel particularly lost or adrift. Something was bubbling within. Not being the time for productive growth does not mean there is no growth.

The image I chose shows a fallow field; one that is not in use. Yet it is not barren. Often we choose to name this growth weeds. Experience informs me that any seed growing within offers unique experiences. Sometimes I need to allow the free growth rather than focussing my energy on a more direct route.

What are the weeds that grow in your fallow time? What gift do they bring you? How does being fallow help your creativity? How do you feel during a fallow season?

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