Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Beauty Of Harvest

Driving through the farms of the Burdekin, watching as the farmers harvest their crop, seeing the machinery churning it's way through the ripe crops of sugar cane and watching as the supply chain kicks into gear is really quite amazing. As the season of harvest is well and truly in swing there are so many analogies we can draw about the cycle of life. Harvest is only part of the season.

The harvester travels up and down the rows of cane; scooping cutting, dicing before finally throwing the cane stalk out of the chute. Up and down, back and forth, the harvest follows the same pattern the sower followed over twelve months ago. The picture below clearly demonstrates the harvester is actually useless without a cage to dump it in, so the trucks must follow along to collect the cane stalk. Two machines working toward a common goal and following the assigned rules. Teamwork is amazing, necessary and it's not over yet.

The trucks must take their full cages and place them on the tram tracks. Cages are linked together to form a train that is transported to a local mill form processing into what we know as sugar. Notice another truck is now next to the harvester whilst this truck places its cage on the track. The harvester is constantly in motion whilst the trucks shuttle back and forward between the shunting yard and the further from the tracks the more trucks that are required.

Different types of machinery, different amounts of machinery, different goals for each machine but all working together to gather in the harvest. Just like our families each person has a different role; the father to protect, the mother to nurture, the children to play and learn, and so on into the extended family. At work we each have our own unique roles that contribute to the profitability of the business. It is in society at large where the cultural norms have been broken down that many of us are unsure of our place and purpose in our neighborhoods, towns and cities. The cultural mores have been broken down and thrown away by generations of rebellious self-interest groups with no other agenda than to satisfy their own pleasures. There is no harvest there. But back to the hard working farmers ... whose produce is now in the hands of others as it is taken to the local crushing mill.

Cane growing is a natural process that is governed by the local environment (soil, bugs, etc) and local weather events (rain, sun, cyclones etc). Whilst harvest is an annual event its timing is to some extent governed by the seasonal vagaries too. An astute farmer knows how to overcome the specific difficulties of their local environment.  But the plant, grow, tend, harvest cycle does not changed, rather the ability of the farmers and machinery to enter the fields can be hampered by the weather. The local environment and local social events affect the timing of your opportunity, the quality of your opportunity, even whether or not you will can reach the field of your opportunity. Knowing the environment we operate in gives us the ability to be proactive, wouldn't you agree?

One method some local farmers use to supplement their soils and ensure an income throughout the seasons is crop diversification. What we see above is pumpkins in the foreground (bleeerk), mango trees to the left and sugar cane in the background. Diversity has it's benefits and drawbacks, but the days of a generalist becoming wealthy are long past and we all have specialisations today. Just like the crops above we might have different opportunities but we need to know each one intimately. Does the farmer harvest pumpkins with the same machinery used for sugar cane? Of course not and nor should we apply one mode of thinking to all the different aspects of our life; technical, family, relationships, wealth, farming or wherever you are.

Knowing the rules of natural cycles can free us to follow the rules and when our roles are defined we are able to fulfill them with greater efficiency. Once we understand our local environment we are able to make increasingly speicalised decisions. When we can ignore the processes out of our control and focus on what we can change, could you see your life becoming more simplified and peaceful?

Here's to our success.

P.S. I will likely be moving my posts over to my own blog when I get it set up at very soon. Thank you all for taking the time to read this one man's thoughts.


  1. Thanks Mark for another interesting read. You always give me something to think about and that is good in today's climate. I think it's healthy to be challenged in ones thoughts and then to maybe realise that you are growing as a person because you are now looking at circumstances in a new way....I know I am.

    Western Australia

  2. You are so right, today's media is focused on short term, over hyped, trivial rubbish which does nothing to develop the resilience necessary for personal growth. Thanks Sue here's to our success!