Living in Season
The official newsletter of the School of the Seasons
Volume 2, Number 9
May 31, 2004, WhitMonday
the beginning of Ordinary Time
- My Season: Bee Energy
- In Person: Take Back Your Time Conference, June 10-13, Chicago
- Living in Season: Clothes Changing Day
- In The Library: Books About Time
- Holiday Packet: Midsummer
- Signs of Summer
- Summer in the School of the Seasons
- Subscribe - Unsubscribe
Welcome to my periodical newsletter featuring ideas for bringing the beauty of the current season into your life. If you enjoy this newsletter, please forward it.
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My Season: Bee Energy
I'm It's been very quiet on this list lately. I haven't been receiving many orders or emails. I suspect that has something to do with my own mood and lack of energy. I've been in winter, in regards to this work, a deep hibernation period as I've tried to figure out if I have the energy to continue.
But spring has come into my School of the Seasons life (outside, it's more like summer), and I'm buzzing with new ideas for the website, like the bees that are buzzing around the tiny blue blossoms of the ceanothus down the block (I call it the grape jelly plant because of the sweet smell of the flowers in the sun). My current dreams include an illustrated quarterly ezine, converting the correspondence course packets into downloadable files, writing articles for magazines and websites and getting my Living in Season book out to the public, either by finding a publisher, creating an ebook or self-publishing.
As part of my winter withdrawal I got far behind on email so if you've sent me a message in the past few months and not gotten a response, I apologize. My current Internet Service Provider throws away my email when too much piles up and I know that many messages have vanished.
My friend, Michael just got a new computer and passed along his old computer to me. It's much faster than my current system and I'm also going to make the leap from a dial-up connection to cable, at the request of my 17 year old god-daughter who's moving in with me and can't imagine life without cable. I expect those changes, along with my spring enthusiasm, will make it possible for me to respond in a timely way to your always warm and interesting questions and comments.
In Person: Take Back Your Time Day Conference
I'll be in Chicago for the first national Take Back Your Time Day conference held at Loyola University from June 10 to June 13. If you're in the neighborhood, stood by and say hello. I'll be speaking on a panel about Sabbath on Friday at 3:30 and on another panel about "Natural Time" with Jay Griffiths, author of A Sideways Look at Time, on Saturday at 10:45 AM. There are many other interesting panels,discussions of time poverty, over-scheduling of kids, the health costs of busyness, the puritan roots of overwork, the value of sabbaticals and much more, all designed to be interactive so participants can brainstorm solutions to the problems raised.
For more information, go to:
Living in Season: Clothes Changing Day
Did your mother pass down to you the famous dictum, "Never wear white before Memorial Day/" This is the modern American version of an ancient recognition of the turning of the seasons.
In Japan, June 1st is Koromo-Gaye, when "people pack away their winter clothes and don their pastel summer cottons, short sleeves, and sandals," according to Anneli Rufus in The World Holiday Book. School children switch to their summer uniforms, as do employees of many companies, so everyone looks different. Rufus reports that people in central Honshu believe that June 1st is the day snakes shed their skin. People are warned to stay out of the fields today as you would be struck blind if you saw a snake in the act of shedding. Perhaps the snake was once a divinity, like Artemis, who would strike blind any mortal who saw her in the act of undressing (transforming)?
I always feel like Memorial Day is the true start of summer. It coincides with the date of the last possible frost in Seattle (although that was unlikely given the unseasonably warm spring) so it's the time to plant tomatoes and basil. It also feels like the end of the school year, even though in most places the kids still have a few more restless weeks to sit at their desks.
In Seattle, it's the time for the first of our two great civic festivals which bookend the summer. We celebrate the Folklife Festival on Memorial Day weekend: with four days of free non-stop folk music and dance at the Seattle Center (the public park under the Space Needle). Bumbershoot, which happens during Labor Day weekend, and emphasizes popular music and culture (including plays, films, comedy acts, readings and art shows) signals the end of summer.
I love dancing and spend most of the four days of Memorial Day weekend dancing at Folklife. It's become one of my traditions to buy myself a Folklife dress, that is a summery dress that swirls gracefully while turning. But I haven't yet found my dress this year and I only have one day to go. Instead I will content myself with changing the color of my toe nail polish from the winter dark red to the summer gold with sparkles.
Consider how you might mark the transition from spring to summer, or how you might turn putting away the winter clothes into a ritual or ceremony.
Rufus, Anneli, The World Holiday Book, Harper San Francisco 1994
In the Library: Books About Time
In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore, Harper Collins 2004
Thanks to my involvement in Take Back Your Time Day, I learned about this new book from journalist, Carl Honore, who will be a keynote speaker at the conference. He went around the world interviewing people involved in the Slow Life movement, people who are actively working to challenge the cult of speed. He covers many subjects from slow food to slow sex to slow cities, in an engaging and illuminating manner.
Tickle, Phyllis, The Graces We Remember: Sacred Days of Ordinary Time, Loyola Press 2004
I'm amazed that no one has ever recommended Tickle's books to me-perhaps it's because she's so Christian, but I don't mind since her spirituality is just a gentle current that runs through lovely essays which blend the themes of various holy days with the events of every day life (in her case, on a farm in Tennessee, raising seven kids).
She's written three of these books on various periods of sacred time, including the holy days of Winter (What the Land Already Knows) and the holy days of spring (Wisdom in the Waiting). This particular volume is about the time period we're just entering-post Pentecost, when nothing much seems to happen in the Church calendar but Tickle manages to find meaning in sometimes obscure holidays such as St Barnabas and Michaelmas.
Holiday Packet: Midsummer
This illustrated portfolio contains over 40 pages of ideas for celebrating Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer and Litha. It tells you how to
- gather and use magical Midsummer herbs like St John's Wort
- prepare a picnic of traditional Midsummer foods
- make wreaths to throw into the Midsummer bonfire
- use the petals of roses to make conserves, butter and rosaries
- create Gardens of Adonis
- and much more
To order go to our Store! http://www.schooloftheseasons.com/store.html
An email version is also available for $7. It will be sent to you as an attached Word file within 24 hours of your order. The snail mail version is $9.00 + $3 shipping/handling and will be shipped within a week of your order.
Signs of Summer
I noticed yesterday that the St John's Wort (the ground cover not the magical weed) is in bloom, almost three weeks early (like many of our other flowers this year) since it usually appears around summer solstice.
What signals the start of summer for you? The arrival of the bees? The flowering of a particular plant? The putting away of the winter coat and hat?
Send me the signs of summer where you live, and I will post them on my website.
Summer is A-Coming In
If it feels like Summer where you live, the Summer correspondence course is now available. (Of course, you can also order any season out of season, if you like). For a list of topics and the subjects covered, go
Copyright ©Waverly Fitzgerald 2004.
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