Old Europeans had these holidays in which they marked gathering times, rest times, harvest times, and planting times. I try to adapt this practice of living in tune with the cycles of the sun by watching the seasonal changes where I live. Let me tell you, I’m not feeling Lammas – the traditional first harvest of grain – this year.
The strange weather we’ve been having has disturbed my marking of the Northern California seasons. Spring was not particularly warm. We had torrential winter rains in June. Fog rolled in early. Heat spikes were random. And as for the old Celtic versions of this season, well, I am harvesting things from my garden, but as I live in a 3-4 season growing area, what those things are simply has varied. The snap peas have given way to the green beans which will soon give way to squash. And personal harvest? I can mark some things, of course, as I’m a pretty steady worker, but can also point to my long list of projects – many of which were slated to be done by August first – that are not yet complete. Like the variable weather, these projects have been subject to many delays not of my own making: tech crashes on a video editor, uploading issues with the e-books, service committees taking time to form, which is correct, but not on my envisioned timetable…
This Lammas, rather than harvesting, rather than invoking the many-talented Irish hero Lugh and marshaling all of my creative juices to get let in to the feast, rather than enjoying the cooling fog that is the hallmark of late summer by the San Francisco Bay… I am exhaling in order to make space inside to let things flow as they will.
The lessons for me are thus: I am an instigator and being such an animal, I need to set things in motion, give an occasional push, have some tentative deadlines, and let go of attachment to how and when the process will unfold. In the midst of this, I need to keep up the commitments I can and keep others apprised of the commitments that are heavily impacted by the work of others.
So many of the old holidays were based around agriculture and either our control, or partnership, or lack of control or partnership, with holy Nature. Nature feels quite changeable this year, as does government, the economy, and just about everything else. What feels stable is what is at my core and within my practices. What feels stable is that I can continue to notice and choose, love and creativity. What feels stable – even predictable – is that the cosmos is ever changing, and so am I. Best laid plans of mice and 21st century humans, and all that.
This late summer season, I give thanks for what I have that feeds me and the ways in which my life can help feed others. I also intend to practice walking the fine line between consolidating energy and attention, and letting go. Yes, I will show up. Will I deliver the fruits of my labor? Time will tell.
There is always a harvest, whether or not it yields what we expected.