Last week was Lammas, or Lughnassadh if you prefer. Lammas is the first harvest, with Mabon and Samhain being the other two harvest festivals. If I were out in the English countryside, I’m sure I’d see the grains being ready for harvest. Here it’s not quite the same. The weather is warming up in most places, but we haven’t hit our hottest months yet; the City is blanketed in fog and is colder than it’s been in a while, and grapes and stone fruit are in the Farmers Markets. Grain just isn’t that prevalent.
I grew up on a tropical island and then spent a few decades in the Southern United States. The concept of corn and grain farming is … well … not something that I have really thought of. I can tell you about how the rains would start in August when I was growing up and finally stopped the threat of fire for the year. Before that, we were always aware of the fact that a fire could run up the hill upon which we lived and burn down our home.
There were tanks of water in the back of our house that would be the only guaranteed water for living and for putting out fires. The fire department would get there – eventually – but we were the first line of defense. The rains of August were a blessing to my parents. As a child, I was mostly annoyed because it would mean that my birthday would be rained out. Looking back, though, I really appreciate the rains.
My friends who live in the same area that I currently do, but who have land and grow some of their own food, have a relationship with the seasons that is focused around the land and the crops. I, however, live in a city. There are apartment buildings all around me and what homes are around in my area tend to be small, with limited yards. There isn’t any room for me to harvest significant amounts of food on my apartment patio (although I do have some perennial herbs).
When I was younger, the rain was a big part of my relationship with my seasons. Now, my relationship with the seasons is focused around the local weather and the city activities. I track seasons by the food in the Farmer’s Markets, the city-sponsored activities. This is the time of the stone fruit, the time of grapes, of beer, the time of fog and wind.
This is my Lammas.
I invite you to consider how the seasons move where you are.
Each of us connects in different ways, depending on where we live. The traditional seasonal markers and activities may make sense to some of us, but they may also be somewhat theoretical for many of us. I believe that it’s vital for us to find our own way to connect to the seasons.
How do the weather and local activities change in your area? In your life?