Living in Season
The official newsletter of School of the Seasons
July 4, 2007
July Calendar Update
My Season: Missing You
Living in Season: 99 Senses
What I'm Reading: East Wind Melts the Ice
Flower Course: Reprise
Holiday Packet: Lammas
Signs of Summer
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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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July Calendar Update
The July calendar is up. I've added some new information on O-Bon, Ocean Day and Buddhist Lent. For these and other July holidays like Tisha B?Av, Ice Cream Day and the Dog Days, go to the July Calendar.
My Season: Missing You
Happy Fourth of July! I always think of it as our national celebration of summer solstice.
I'm reviving after a summer cold that laid me low. I couldn't smell anything for two weeks. And after I recovered, I realized that I had missed the blossoming of the linden trees. I'm so disappointed as that's one of my favorite scents.
There's been a curious silence in the halls of the School of the Seasons over the past few months. No signs of summer submitted. Low enrollment in the flower course. I know that Mercury is retrograde and I know that I have not been giving School of the Seasons my full attention for a while now, but I'm wondering what happened to all of you. I miss you.
I've taken the summer off from teaching, and intend to devote myself to writing and working on improvements to School of the Seasons. To help me, I created a free survey using the web site Survey Monkey to ask some basic questions about what you like and don't like about School of the Seasons.
I am only allowed to collect 100 responses for free and there are a lot more than 100 of you, so if you try to respond and can't get through, just drop me a note about what you like about School of the Seasons, what you would like to see changed, and any suggestions you have for improvement. Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will draw one name from all of your email addresses (there's an option to provide your address at the end of the survey; I will also include the names of all those who write me directly). The lucky winner will get a gift certificate worth $30 for any purchase at School of the Seasons.
The New York Times published an article about the many couples who are getting married this year on the 7th day of the 7th month in the year 2007, believing that it is a lucky day. One numerologist who added all the numbers together to get 5 (usually a number of conflict) was not so sure this was a good idea, but another numerologist interviewed said the numerological compatibility of the couple was more important than the numerology of the wedding day. One Indian-American bride, decided to go ahead and get married on this day anyway it's also the 7th day of the seventh month of the Hindu lunar calendar.
Living in Season: 99 Senses
I had the pleasure of attending a workshop last week taught by Amy Frazier, who was preparing for a presentation at a conference with the theme of "the forest as a complex system," and wanted to try out her ideas on a sample audience. She shared with us some new research in the area of the senses.
Apparently the notion that we have five senses is a classical one, first discussed by Aristotle. Recently, scientists have been suggesting that we have more than five senses. Michael J. Cohen, a professor of ecopsychology, believes that we have at least 56 senses. Other scientists have proposed up to 99 possible senses. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find much about this new research online (though Michael J.Cohen does have a web site at:
Here are some possible other senses:
- Heliotropism: turning towards the sun
- Sense of balance
- Sense of pressure
- Sense of motion
- Sense of hunger
- Sense of thirst
- Sense of time
- Sense of direction
- Sense of temperature
- Sense of the earth's rotation
- Response to pheronomes and other scents related to hormones
- Response to color
- Proprioception (or body awareness (what allows you to touch your finger to your nose with your eyes closed)
- Ability to make oneself invisible, through camouflage
This list includes senses commonly associated with non-humans. For instance, I usually think of camouflage as a characteristic of insects, birds and other animals, but it was fun to consider that it might be a human sense as well. I have certainly experienced being invisible, as well as making myself invisible.
Heliotropism is usually associated with plants, like the sunflower, that turn towards the sun. My daughter did a little experiment one afternoon. She turned our clover plant and then watched as it turned itself back around. Because the leaves brushed against each other, she was actually able to see it moving. And when I thought about heliotropism as a sense, I realized that I instinctively turn towards the sun when I go outdoors.
Summer seems like a good time to explore all of these new senses.
What I'm Reading
East Wind Melts the Ice: A Memoir Through the Seasons by Liza Dalby
University of California Press, 2007
I originally got this book from the library because it sounded like the author was trying to achieve much the same thing I was trying to do in my blog. I totally fell in love with it and have now ordered a copy of my own. This is not only a well written book but a well published book. It feels good to hold and it's beautiful to look at.
Taking the Chinese almanac with its division of the year into 72 5-day segments, each with a poetic title, like East Wind Melts Ice or Rice Ripens, as her structure, Liza Dalby writes lovely poetic essays on the changes the seasons bring in Japan, China and her garden in Berkeley, California. An anthropologist by training, Dalby has a deep knowledge of Japanese culture as a result of studying in Japan for years (she has also written about kimonos and her training as a geisha as well as a novel based n the life of Lady Murasaki). Her essays are rich with haikus, folklore, etymological snippets, small personal disclosures, plant recommendations, even recipes. Where else would you learn about the colors of the robes worn by noble women of the eleventh century (Pink Maples wore a top kimono of bright pink, over robes of gold, pale yellow, aquamarine, rose and pale pink). Or that the original Japanese word for the color orange: daidai-iro (daidai color), comes from a citrus fruit like a Seville orange (now the English loanword orenji is more common).
This is such a beautiful book. It inspires me to continue with my year of flowers blog, to be content with small digressive essays integrating many different subjects rather than comprehensive articles, and to craft my prose as beautifully as Dalby does hers.
Trying Again: Flowers of Summer
June 22 September 22
Although all of the other classes I've offered have filled, enrollment was so low for my flower course that I'm probably not going to be offering it this summer (unless a whole bunch of you sign up after this newsletter, in which case we will begin in July and go through the end of September).
Let me know if you thought about it and decided against it or what information would have gotten you more excited about signing up. It may be that I'm the only one besotted with flowers, or that those of you who are equally besotted already know all the things I was promising to teach.
I've been using these courses as a clever way to both develop material for a future book. By teaching a class, I get the chance to write the chapters, test out my assignments to see if they work and gather interesting stories and anecdotes (since a book about my experiences with flowers would be limited to my region and I'd like the book to cover flowers that don't grow in Seattle).
Each week you'll receive a short email and a homework assignment which will encourage you to go out and interact with flowers in your part of the world. The topics include naming flowers, drawing flowers, identifying flowers, eating flowers, drinking flowers, creating essential oils with flowers, making medicine with flowers, etc. The goal is to develop a more intimate understanding of the flowers that surround you: one a week.
I know that summer is a busy time for most of us but participating in this course should not take longer than a half hour to read the email and an hour to do the homework, although, of course, you could do much more, if you choose. As part of the course you will be enrolled in a Yahoo group where you can post your homework assignments, participate in discussions and post pictures.
You can learn more about the class and register at this link.
Holiday Packet: Lammas
Ah! The mysterious, ineffable holiday of Lammas.
This illustrated, 30+ page portfolio includes:
- Ancient Celtic and Anglo-Saxon traditions of Lughnasad and Lammas
- Transformation mysteries of beer and bread
- Recipes for mead and methlegyn, medicinal and fermented honey beverages
- Instructions for creating wheat weavings and lavender wands
- Lyrics for Lammas songs, including Brigg Fair and John Barleycorn
- And much more
You can read an excerpt from the packet here.
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.
$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, go to our Store.
Signs of Summer
I missed the linden blossoms while I had my summer cold but this morning I went down the steps of my apartment building and caught the fragrance of jasmine. The blossoms are just beginning to open.
What's blooming where you live?
Where ever you live, send me your signs of the season and we will post them at the website at Signs of the Season.
Copyright © Waverly Fitzgerald 2007
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