By Jon Saesan

The moon turns its clockwork dream.
The biggest stars look at me with your eyes.
And as I love you, the pines in the wind
want to sing your name with their leaves of wire.
-Pablo Neruda

When I planted my garden in the spring I was filled with anticipation and expectations of what my cultivation would bare. I spent the rest of spring and most of the summer raising two young children, in yoga teacher training, working nights as a Hospice nurse, reading, reflecting on my inner self, learning how to love, vacationing with my family, and at times visiting the garden for a moment to pull a few weeds or to harvest the strawberries.

As the nights grow colder and the summer comes to an end, it is easy for me to look upon my garden now so full of growth that it appears to be more a work of natural restoration than the fruit and vegetable garden I had hoped for, and find myself disappointed. The one tomato I was able to harvest before the bunnies found it was not what I had in mind when I was planting the tiny starters in April. Standing in the yard as the dog traces the feral scent of some beast that had recently had been passing through, I think of all the butterflies and bees (including the one that stung me, leaving my arm swollen and itching for days) this mess of a garden attracted throughout the season. Watching two Monarchs play above this poorly tended piece of earth I’m reminded of the night my daughter and I caught fireflies and placed them in a jar. We took the jar inside and sat in the dark watching them blink on and off speaking a secret code to each other before releasing them back to the night air. My daughter is still convinced that they were fairies.

This Friday, the 13th of September, is the Harvest Moon and also a micro moon. This simply means that it is the full moon nearest the Autumn Equinox and that the moon is at its furthest distance from the Earth in its elongated orbit. During the times in my life where I have focused the energy to be aware of it, I have found that this 28-day moon cycle pulls on me. A full moon can bring me an energy and alertness that if focused can be made into something beautiful. A new moon always seems to come with the sense of a clean slate, a new beginning. At times when I find that everything seems to be a chore, l will look up to see a waning moon, and I’ll know that I may just need to find my own strength to move forward. The Harvest Moon has historically been a time of great celebration, and also a time to reflect on and reap the rewards of our labors. With the moon so far away this year I find myself feeling a little differently about this coming change in the seasons. Maybe I’m being asked to step back and look at what I have been cultivating more clearly. It is certainly not what I would have expected in the Spring.

I’ve come to the realization recently that it is this expectation that takes me from being my most present self, from being awake. Through the hours and years of meditation, I have found an ability to look at the thoughts in my mind as passing clouds in the sky, and have found a sense of real peace in doing so. Until recently, however, I never noticed how my expectations of the future were truly taking so much joy out of my actual experience of living. For as long as I can remember I have been a dreamer. I find I’ve always looked to the future with expectations for a way in which any particular scenario will play itself out, and often from every possible outcome that may occur. I’ve also found that reality almost always is very different than any of my mind’s pontifications. I’ve started to try and stop this train of expectation and find that when I can, the world continues to spin and I’m able to experience what happens with a better sense of wakefulness and wonder. This is not to say that there is no value in daydreaming and planning, but rather that when I let go of the ways in which I believe I want something to play out and I am open to the world blossoming before me, my life is enriched.

Finding this joy and contentment in the abundance of life and allowing it to be just as it is has been a true gift. Allowing myself to feel all of the emotions that come with putting a child on a school bus for the first time and watching it drive away, has taught me much about growth. I have plans to mulch heavily next year and give my little victory garden some much-needed nourishment and rest. Some time in January the catalogs from nurseries will start to arrive. Most of them will go straight into the recycling bin, but I expect I’ll save one or two. I’ll start with a plan to attend the perennials that need the attention and then on a day when the ground is covered with snow and everything underneath is frozen, I’ll flip through one of the catalogs and start thinking. “Maybe just a few tomato plants this year.” Whatever I end up planting in the Spring I hope that this time next year I am again able to look up at the moon sometime around the Autumn Equinox and experience the sense of accomplishment in cultivating and harvesting the things in my life where I have spent my efforts, edible and otherwise.

Jon Saesan graduated from teacher training at Total Body Yoga. He completed Mara Campbell’s Emerald Heart School of Yoga training in 2019. Jon has been an RN since 2008 has been doing hospice since 2011. He was also a volunteer firefighter for four years. Jon lives with his wife and 2 children in Lake Bluff. You will see him filling in for teachers at TBY and if you’re lucky, he might bring his guitar along.