First fruits and Brother Sun

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendour!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

~ from the Canticle of Brother Sun, by St Francis of Assisi

A mild, sunny early autumn can be a gloriously liminal space, teetering on the very edge of summer, before finally, inevitably, surrendering to the new season's embrace. Yes, the nights are definitely chillier and longer, but daytime skies have been brilliantly blue, with the sun turning red-gold leaves to fire, and ensuring it still feels warm enough to entice butterflies and bees out for some final, sun-blessed suckles.

A few weeks ago I picked several ripe apples from our tree, and since then I've also been keeping a proprietorial eye on "my" vine's progress. The grapes, which were in their tiny, promising infancy in May, have been growing, ripening and deepening, from green to rosy to a shining, purply-black, and the occasional tasting has confirmed that they are indeed sweetly edible. Interestingly, some bunches have been simultaneously displaying the complete colour and size range, with grapes almost bursting in their ripeness nestling up to others which are still little more than seeds. There's no discernible reason for this - all grapes on the same bunch receive the same amount of sunshine and rain, but some have grown and reached their full potential whilst others never will.

This afternoon I decided those few bunches needed to be picked - the rest will, I hope, benefit from several more days of forecasted sun and dry weather. Somehow it seemed a good way to celebrate the feast of St Francis: harvesting and holding those first, tiny fruits of "my" vine, while Brother Sun beamed down and a few Red Admirals fluttered and peered inquisitively from the top of whatever plant is entwined within the vine. Always and right now, all around and right here, in my hands, Francis' Sister Mother Earth has been generously yielding varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs. 

And Brother Sun...? For a few days more, at least, he continues to be beautiful and radiant in all his splendour, nurturing, enlivening and bearing the likeness of the most radiant Light of all...