Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Looking for Autumn

Our Osage orange project

There are so many Waldorf-esque resources that tout the importance of staying in tune with the seasons. You can find websites, blogs, and books right and left if your family is down with the whole out-with-society's-pace-of-life, in-with-natural-living kind of thing.

That kind of thing happens to appeal to me, and the way I want to bring up my little people.

Some deep part of me can sense an ancient importance in keeping in tune with our natural surroundings. Granted, a few centuries ago, keeping pace with Nature was a matter of survival, not an outside-the-box educational model. However, that instinct that we all share, that primitive beat we can all hear- if we listen- that gently but firmly calls us to keep pace with the Earth is something evolution never pruned, so logically there's still some value in it, right?

Modern society, however, has been doing it's darndest to amputate it for years... or in the very least, stomp that natural sync down so far no one even knows it's there.

Don't believe me?

Example: The first day of Fall was almost 2 1/2 weeks ago, and the autumnal holidays are still 3-7 weeks away. In our area, the weather hasn't even resigned itself to feeling crisp or cool consistently yet, the trees are barely starting to turn yellow and brown, and all the summer butterflies and birds are still here. Yet in all the stores, Christmas trees are popping up everywhere. Sparkly balls and stars, red and green elves, Santas and wreaths and table settings (and the oye and the flavin- Simpsons reference, couldn't resist) are out en masse, and a collective moan is starting to rise as people start thinking about all the shopping they'll be obligated to do. The Holiday Rush is looming, earlier and earlier every year, and the frenetic energy in the air can almost be tasted as the days start growing shorter.

On the other side of the coin, our ancient sensibility is telling us it's time to turn inward, prepare for the dark, fortify, and hunker down. Yet to keep pace with commercial society, we have to ignore that instinct. We have to get out, speed up, spend, and consume. We have to immerse ourselves in businesses already decked and bedazzled. We- in essence- skip half the years' seasons for the sake of one holiday.

With so much focus on Holidays, we loose sight of their context. Their purpose. Their season.

Could that be a reason why the Holiday Blues strike so many? If, as soon as the days start growing shorter, we start frantically running up the sheer side of a cliff, leading to the pinnacle of Christmas, only to find on the other side of the 25th there is nothing but a free-fall? I think it has become quite a detriment that the "reason for the season" has made us miss out on the season and forget that it is more than just the vessel that brings us a (now major) holiday.

How much more time could we feel we have if we stay present in the moment, paying attention to the very slightest of details all around us, and only allowing the seasonal celebrations an appropriate amount of that time, vs. letting it all whoosh by because all energy and resources are spent anticipating one major event?

I'm certainly not suggesting we can eliminate all commercial influence on the grooming of our time in the darker half of the year, but I am suggesting that I can control what rhythm my family keeps pace with in my own home.

I just have to choose which one is right for us- the one that's as old as time and speaks to us all on an ancient plane, or the one that's newer, brighter, and much, much louder.

*For meaning and context in this oh-so-important season, I highly recommend Festivals, Family and Food & The Winter Solstice- The Sacred Traditions of Christmas, as well as the bread book I mentioned here, believe it or not. 

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