Valuing a Fallow Season

In March this year, I had the opportunity to go away for the weekend with some good friends. We were staying in a house near the beach, and we’d spent Saturday walking along the beach, visiting a weekend market, lunching from the fabulous bakery, relaxing on the sand chatting and reading, wandering through secondhand bookstores. Late in the afternoon we were chilling out on the lounge. The shadows were lengthening, birds were singing outside, and Sting was crooning in the background. It was blissfully relaxing.

Only 24 hours earlier I was rushing around the house trying to make sure everything was organised for the weekend away.  Why does everything seem to take so much longer when you’re in a hurry?  Life was really busy.

Fortunately, it didn’t take long to change gears and relax into the moment, but I was amazed at how much difference it made to take myself out of my normal environment and activities, even for a day or two.  I also realised how rarely I actually do that. I’d like to say that I learned the lesson and started to be more intentional about taking time out to relax, be refreshed, and enjoy some simple pleasures with friends. But … I didn’t. Life continued to be busy, and often stressful, and like someone caught in a swift flowing river I was being carried downstream.

In July I blogged about the change of seasons in life. What I didn’t realise at the time was the type of season I was heading into. To continue the river analogy, by August, I’d hit the rocks. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I was feeling bruised and battered.  The re-occurrence of a previous back problem also meant that I was spending a lot of time lying down, resting my back and trying to manage the pain.  I’d been there before and I had no desire for a tedious return visit.  I wanted to get on with other things in my life, so I found it hard to embrace the opportunity to rest. Recovery can be a frustratingly slow process.

But what I’m just coming to appreciate is that I haven’t missed the change of season, I just didn’t recognise it at first. In an agricultural context, farmland that has been ploughed and left unseeded for at least one season is described as ‘fallow’. A fallow season allows the land to rest and restore its productivity.

For me this is like a fallow season. Aha – a light bulb moment!

I’m definitely feeling a little ‘ploughed’ at present, but I’m also learning to be grateful for this season of rest. So it’s not exactly a 5-star resort holiday, but it’s the rest I need if I’m going to be productive in the next season. And I’m looking forward to that.

Image: Evgeni Dinev /