Living in Season
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My Season: Post Lent Grace
Those of you whove been reading this newsletter for a while know that Ive been struggling to find the rhythm in my life after accepting a part-time job, as the Finance Manager of a small writing center in Seattle, where I also teach writing classes. During the past two weeks, my part-time job became a full-time job as we had undertaken a full-scale audit to straighten out a myriad of nagging problems from the past. To my surprise, adding more to my schedule actually helped me find my rhythm. Instead of fighting with my schedule, trying to cram in all the tasks I want to do, I simply surrendered. And as usual when I surrender, grace appears.
Strolling home from work after an eight hour day, I knew I didnt have to make myself work any more, even though there were plenty of tasks waiting for me at home. And since I wasnt watching TV the first week, I didnt fill up my time with mindless chatter as I would have before Lent. I had much more time for reading, for writing, for talking to friends, for hanging out with my daughter. All lovely.
Im also working on a prototype version of a planner, based on the Calendar Companion, that I hope to sell via the web site some day soon. Its an interesting format, with a lot more white space than my usual planner (which is full of lines that I usually fill up) and I like the sense of abundance it brings into my life.
May you find more space in the time of your life,
Living in Season: Earth Day
I dont usually recommend purely secular or political holidays hey dont have the mystery or the sensual appeal of the ancient seasonal holidays but I make an exception for Earth Day which upholds the same values as School of the Seasons. If we were truly living in harmony with the Earth, we would be living in seasonal time, which is also biological time.
Earth Day replaced an older holiday, Arbor Day, which was also a secular holiday, created by Julius Sterling Morton, who in 1883 convinced the Nebraska legislators to establish a holiday dedicated to planting trees and increasing awareness of the importance of trees. It was originally celebrated on April 22nd (Mortons birthday) but has now been shifted, most often to the last Friday in April. Heres a list of state trees and the date Arbor Day is celebrated in various states:
Another web site provides dates on which Arbor Day is celebrated around the world:
Most of these seem to be government-sponsored holidays often wrapped in a cloak of civic pride that takes all of the fun out of a holiday.
Here are a few more fun ways to celebrate Earth Day.
Earth Day Dinner
And this year they are also pairing with local restaurants to sponsor special meals that fit the theme. Check this list to see if there is a restaurant in your area:
I got hooked on Google Earth during the time I was deprived of television. Its a much more satisfying visual medium as you can interactively explore the crater of Mt St. Helens or the Grand Canyon, floating like a bird above these three-dimensional landscapes. The city scapes are a little less exciting (although some of them are three-dimensional) but most, since theyre based on satellite pictures are rather flat, and one roof looks pretty much like another.
My favorite part of Google Earth is the way it insists on giving you a global view of things. If you type in the Eiffel Tower while youre looking at the roof of your apartment building in Seattle, suddenly you zoom up, and across the globe, flying across continents and oceans until you end up in Paris, floating above the Eiffel Tower. It gives you a heartfelt sense of the way were all connected and how beautiful our world is.
Google Earth has lots of built in features, including manipulations to the images so you can zoom in or out and tilt the plane at which youre viewing things. It can also be annotated to create personal maps (I have not yet fully explored this feature but can imagine it would be great for creating a geographic memoir, an annotated life story or a family history.)
What I'm Reading: More Bird Books
One Mans Owl, Princeton University Press 1993
Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Observations with Wolf-Birds, Harper Perennial 2000
Ravens in Winter, Vintage 1991
All three of these books are by one of my favorite nature writers: Bernd Heinrich. He combines impeccable scientific observation with deep appreciation for the bonds that can develop between humans and wild animals. He has written two marvelous books about ravens, based on watching them in the woods and observing the interactions of a group of young crows he raised in a large aviary attached to his cabin in the Maine woods. But my favorite of his books is the story of Bubo, the Horned Owl, who is deemed incorrigible by a Raptor Rehabilitation Center but who Heinrich teaches how to hunt and is able to release back into the wild. Heinrich can also craft an elegant sentence although he never lets it get in the way of his subject matter, unlike Chris Chester.
Calendar Companion: Leaves from the Tree of Time
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.
Round Two: If you've already been receiving the Calendar Companion, please note that I will be writing new material as well as repeating some of your favorites from last year.
$20 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.
Holiday Packet: May Day
The print version is $14; please allow 10 days for delivery. An email version is also available for $9. It will be sent to you as an attached Word file within 24 hours. Order in our Store.
Signs of Summer
Send me your news of the season and I will post it on my web site under Signs of the Season.