Living in Season
The official newsletter of School of the Seasons
March 3, 2008
Happy St Winnold's Day
My Season: Spring Buds
March Calendar Updated: Lush with Holidays
Slow Time Book News
- San Francisco Chronicle interview
- Need reviews for Amazon
- New Chapter: Dance of the Hours
Living in Season: Spring Ahead with Daylight Savings
- Allow Yourself Time to Create, March 8
School of the Seasons Offerings:
- Eostre/Easter Holiday Packet
- Calendar Companion
Cool Links: Flylady
Signs of Spring
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Welcome to my semi-monthly newsletter featuring ideas for bringing the beauty of the current season into your life.
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There are only two ways to live your life,
as though nothing is a miracle,
or as though everything is a miracle.
My Season: Spring Buds
I've heard that in the Midwest, Spring arrives as an explosion of flowers around Spring Equinox. I've always thought it crept up on us, here in the Northwest, with that first scent of sweet box and daphne odora in January, followed by snowdrops slowly unfurling in February, then daffodils in March, tulips in April, and so forth. But this year, this week, it feels like spring is exploding. I keep stopping on my walks to work, struck by the wonder of a shrub flush with green buds, where just yesterday there were only bare twigs. I'm sure people wonder what is wrong with me, but it's just that I've become a phenologist.http://www.windows.ucar.edu/citizen_science/budburst/
That's been my self-appointed task for February and you can read more about it at my blog (www.livinginseason.blogspot.com). In March, I'm switching over to becoming an amateur botanist. My goal is to teach myself how to identify plants. I'm looking forward to acquiring a new vocabulary full of words like pinnate and panicle, corymb and calyx. I hope it will help me find some of the plants I'm supposed to be tracking as a phenologist.
For the past ten years, I've hosted an Easter Egg dyeing party every spring but this year I'm just not feeling the impulse. Maybe it's because Easter is so early--I could always postpone the party until Orthodox Easter which falls on April 27. Or perhaps I've just run out of new ideas for dyeing eggs. I'm thinking maybe I'll invite my friends over to paint Chinese lanterns instead.
May spring bring pleasure and wonder into your life,
Updated March Calendar
The March calendar is updated for 2008 and bursting with holidays. For instance on the full moon, you could celebrate the Spring Waters Moon, Purim, the City Dionysia or Good Friday. For more details go to: www.schooloftheseasons.com/march.html
Slow Time Book News
David Miller of the San Francisco Chronicle interviewed me about my Slow Time book at the end of January. You can read the interview here.
I've been hearing from many of you that you're enjoying the book, but no one has yet posted a review yet at Amazon. I think it would help other readers find the book, so if you like it, please post a review. You can even upload a video review if you like. Here's the Amazon link.
The Slow Time book is slowly climbing up the ranks at Lulu, my print-on-demand publisher. (It just broke into the top 1,000 last week and is still climbing, whereas at Amazon it's 404,077.) You can order it directly from Lulu here.
If you're willing to take this process slowly, I'm posting the chapters, one a month, on the Slow Time book website. The second chapter on the difference between natural and artificial time is still up but on March 5, it will be gone and the third chapter, "Dance of the Hours," will be posted here:
Living in Season: Spring Forward to Save Daylight
I was happy about the extra day in February this year, and also grateful for the extra month of Adar (which appears in the Jewish lunar calendar every leap year) because "When Adar arrives, joy increases," and on leap years we get twice as much joy.
But I'm not looking forward to the beginning of Daylight Savings Time (which starts on March 9 this year). I don't like losing an hour and I hate the way it disrupts my body rhythms. Simply saying the hour is different doesn't change when I get hungry or sleepy or inspired to create.
Robertson Davies captured my feelings when he wrote in The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks in 1947:
"I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves."
In fact, it was Benjamin Franklin, responsible for the proverb "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise," who first conceived of the idea of Daylight Saving Time (DST) in 1784. DST was first adopted in Germany, then England in 1916, and America in 1918. However, certain states don't observe it all, like Arizona (where they don't need an extra hour of sunlight) and Hawaii (probably for the same reason) and certain counties in Indiana (and I'm sure there's a good story behind that).
The purpose of Daylight Savings Time is to give us more daylight. We change the time shown on the clocks so an hour of light in the morning is moved to the evening. The author of the marvelous web site on Daylight Saving Time from which I got most of my information says it should be more accurately named Daylight Shifting Time. If this concept is hard to understand, you might find the maps at the web site useful in understanding how it will play out at your latitude.
Daylight Saving Time used to begin on the first weekend in April and end on the last Sunday in October in America. In Europe, the period of Summer Time (isn't that a better name for it?) begins on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.
In 2005, George Bush signed the Energy Policy Act which extended Daylight Saving Time so it now starts on the first weekend in March and ends on the first weekend in November. It was hoped this would save energy as "natural light would substitute for electric lights and people would participate in electricity-free outdoor activities instead of heading home to use appliances and watch television."
However, as Carl Bialik, who blogs for the Wall Street Journal as the Numbers Guy, noted in his column last fall, studies done in Australia in 2002 showed that the increase in electricity during the darker hours of the morning more than made up for the evening savings. And a study of electrical use in California showed that the drop in use during 3 weeks of extra daylight savings time was one-fifth of 1%. A recent study done by researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara, my alma mater, which looked at energy use between the various Indiana counties, some of which use DST and some of which do not, concluded that "Springing forward may actually waste energy."
There are other reasons for DST besides saving energy. Studies in the US and Great Britain associate DST with declines in crime and traffic accidents. And in the United States, prolonging DST through the first Sunday in November means there's more daylight for kids trick-or-treating on Halloween and for voters going to the polls on the first Tuesday in November.
However, as an advocate of natural time over artificial time, I'm always going to be opposed to DST. Don't get me wrong I like more hours of daylight I just think we should get them naturally, by staying up later in the summer. Just like the plants and animals around us, we are powerfully affected by light and that relationship waxes and wanes over the year (unless you live near the equator). Changing the time on the clock doesn't change the rhythm of our bodies.
So this year I'll do what I always do. Refuse to change my clocks for several days until it gets too confusing. Translate ("now let's see it's really ten but the clock says eleven") for weeks. Then eventually give in and go along with the whole scheme, looking forward to that weekend in November when I get an extra hour.
Daylight Saving Time: http://webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/index.html
Bialik, Carl, "Longer Daylight Time May Save Energy But Stats are Stale," Wall Street Journal, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119396328189279951.html
Lahart, Justin, "Daylight Saving Time Wastes Energy, Study Says," Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2008
Tele-Workshop, Time to Create, March 8, 2008
My friend Diane invited me to teach a workshop as part of the celebration of International Women's Day at the web site, Her Circle Ezine. My workshop is called Allow Yourself Time to Create and is aimed at writers, but I will be talking about ideas from my Slow Time book that will work for anyone trying to find more time for what's important. It's a virtual workshop, which means you will be listening to me on the phone, and it's free, although there is a limit on how many people can participate. You can sign up at this link:
Eostre/Easter/Spring Equinox Holiday Packet
It's time to order the Eostre packet if you want to receive it in time to celebrate the joyous mid-spring feast also known as Norooz, St. Joseph's Day or Spring Equinox. Easter is very early this year (just a few days after the equinox) but Passover (also included) is April 20.
This illustrated portfolio contains 50 pages of ideas for celebrating including how to:
Make tansy pies, hot cross buns and other traditional Eostre foods
- Decorate eggs the Ukrainian way, using symbol and ritual
- Use food items and plants to create natural dyes
- Play traditional games like cracking eggs, egg rolling and pace egging
- And much more.
I've reproduced the pages on the sacred meaning of dyed eggs, and on my Ukrainian egg decorating ritual from the Eostre packet as free samples on the website. You can download them at:
It is available in an email version for $10 (sent within 24 hours) or via snail mail for $15 (please allow 10 days for delivery).
Order through our Store.
Calendar Companion: Leaves from the Tree of Time
This is a graceful way to incorporate spirit and seasons into your life. Use it along with your usual planning tools and calendar to help you:
- Slow time down
- Consult your soul while creating your schedule
- Make time for what's truly important in your life
- Move in rhythm with the seasons and the moon
Every week for 52 weeks you will receive a brief email with a reflection on the qualities of the present time period and one suggestion, task or question that you can savor throughout the week.
Start whenever you like. When you order the Calendar Companion, you will receive the next week's calendar companion, along with an introductory email.
$26 for a year's worth of gentle reminders to help you stay aligned with natural rhythms. To order or to see a sample reflection, click here.
Cool Links: Flylady
For those of you who are feeling the urge toward Spring Cleaning, I recommend the Flylady system.
The Flylady has developed a smart way to tackle the overwhelming task of keeping your house clean and organized, by assigning one fifteen minute task five days a week.
But when I signed up two years ago, I was quickly overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of Flylady email I received, a little annoyed by some of the cutesy acronyms, and disappointed in myself when I couldn't keep up with my own expectations, so I unsubscribed for a while.
Now I'm back in the Flylady fold, but I've found a new way to work the Flylady system. I log on the site at the start of the week, when I'm figuring out my weekly schedule, see what the current tasks for the week are, and write them into my planner.
For instance, this week Flylady focused on the living room with fifteen minute tasks like getting rid of trash on Monday, taking out things that don't belong on Tuesday, dusting high-up things on Wednesday, dusting knick-knacks and lamps on Thursday and vacuuming on Friday.
I'm very pleased with the results. The living room actually has a different energetic feel and my sinuses aren't so stuffed up, plus I feel smug about actually cleaning for fifteen minutes a day. I'm trying to figure out how to apply this system to everything in my life. Meanwhile, here's the link:
Signs of Spring
Monica from Lascassas, Tennessee, sent the following Signs of Spring on February 21:
Here in Middle Tennessee for the last week or so my crocuses are up as well as the smaller daffodils that they call "buttercups" in this area. And for two of the last three nights I heard the first frogs in the creek across the road. Temperature's been crazy high in the sixties some days and only the low forties others, so we still have a little more time before Spring is in full swing!
What’s happening where you live? Do you see any signs of spring yet?
Where ever you live, send me your signs of the season and I will post them on the website at Signs of the Season. If you no longer wish to receive these emails, or you wish to update your profile, please click below.
Copyright © Waverly Fitzgerald 2008
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