I have this image of harvest as some day in the year when it’s time to go out into the fields or garden and bring in what is now ready to gather. In fact, for most of what we grow in gardens, orchards or even large fields, harvesting happens all the time. I grew up in a rural community. We always had a huge family garden. From sometime in late spring until the first frost in the fall, there was always something in the garden that needed gathering. At first it was the tender greens; then, strawberries. Then, it might be peas, followed by squash and beans. Corn was always one of the last things, and somewhere mid-summer, we would go out into wilder areas, uncultivated brambles, and pick blackberries and wild muscodines.
Both in actual farming and in metaphor, harvesting is a daily thing, going on all the time. What we reap may change from day to day, but we are constantly gathering in the goods, so to speak. The Tao te Ching says:
The Master is good to people who are good. She is also good to people who aren’t good. This is true goodness. She trusts people who are trustworthy. She also trusts people who aren’t trustworthy. This is true trust. (49)
The practitioner of virtue, like the gardener, is always at work. She does not distinguish a particular day, or type of person, or situation in which to practice virtue. He also knows that the harvest of the daily practice of virtue are untold goods.
If you want to take something, you must first allow it to be given. (36)
The Master has no possessions. The more he does for others, the happier he is. The more he gives to others, the wealthier he is. (81)
The Tao te Ching, tr. Stephen Mitchell