In New England, this sabbat has a very specific energy to it. It's the hinge point of Summer, when we're half-way done with the slow, hot days, the beach blankets and flip flops, and margaritas on the patio in the evening sun. The school supplies sales start happening , and the Fall catalogs are hitting the mail like a fleet of locusts. At the same time, the first real harvests of the season are showing up at the farmers markets, and the tomatoes in the garden are still small and immature. There's such an *in-between* feel to this time of year.
We missed the farmer's market last week, but the first two (yes, there's only been two!) were nearly rained out. I'm sure a lot of people opted for the cover of the grocery store instead of walking through a muddy field to find their corn. It's too early to get spoiled by the taste of the fresh vegetables, but not too early to anticipate it. Friends on Facebook are posting beach pictures and writing about camping, while others are saying they can't wait until pumpkin season and cooler weather, which will come soon enough. Welcome to New England!
There is a lesson to the concept of "first harvest." It means you've still got time; even if it's too late to plant anything new, you can pay stronger attention to what you've already sown. In times when a good harvest meant life or death, this heads up was crucial, even though everyone knew how things went. Maybe that's why they celebrated it. These days, it's a lot harder to really feel the meaning of the holiday when you've been getting corn shipped up from warmer climes for the past month anyway, and you can get anything you want anytime you want at the local grocery store.
But of course, we all harvest way more than corn and tomatoes. Growing anything comes with a combination of excitement and fear--we can't wait to see how it turns out, but holy crap, do we really want to see how it turns out? What if? First harvest is a grace point, a place in between effort and true results. It says "let's see what we've got now, and how about you say a little thanks?" It's kind of a practice for the do-or-die of the final harvest, where you know whether you're going to make it through the winter, and a breather between the massive work of getting the work going and cleaning up after it when it's done.
Don't forget, in this time of first harvest to look both forward and back! Remember what you planted, celebrate what you have, and anticipate what's to come.