Harvest Time

As the farmer gathers in the hay,
piling golden bales roof-high in the barn,
and stores potatoes and apples
in the cool, dry cellar,
thankful to God and the weather,
so it is with me, my daughter,
as you say good-bye to us,
looking back with a wave
and a tentative smile
as you enter a new door,
to be greeted by unfamiliar faces.

It was hard work, yes,
these seventeen years,
the daily-paid mortgage of love.
But as with the farmer
who has labored over many a crop that failed
from too much rain or not enough,
or gophers or rabbits or deer or birds
or insects or hail or tornadoes or fire,
or timing just plain gone wrong,
who sees this year, this crop
is safe in the barn,
so it is with me, my daughter,
as you leave me to learn
other lessons from other teachers.

You are young and beautiful and perfect.
We have made it, you and we,
the entire village of folk who have cared for you
from birth to now, by the grace of God,
and we celebrate and rejoice–
and grieve a little for the passing
of a perfect season.