Just now we’re about halfway between Lammas and Mabon; in the ancient Celtic lands, the grain harvest has come and gone. Cucumbers, onions, tomatoes are at peak, but will be nearly done by late September. But right now? Right now the children are coming to the end of summer.
At the office supply store, the grocery store, even the thrift store, signs point to notebooks and pens and binders and backpacks, juice boxes and lunch packs and everything you need to buy, buy, buy for your school-age child in the next two weeks.
What Do Kids Harvest From Summer?
What have the kids harvested from their summer? I’ve been asking a few kids this week.
First we have to talk about what ‘harvest’ means, because these are mostly not farm kids. But then they have all sorts of ideas.
“A bad sunburn because I wouldn’t wear my sunscreen like my mom said.”
“I learned how to swim!”
“I fell off my bike and got this cast.”
What do they need to carry with them to make this school year the best it can be?
Here again, it’s too open a question. But with a little prompting:
“I need a good teacher so I can pay attention.”
“I need a good memory so I can remember to bring my bookbag.”
“I need to know where to stay away from the bullies in the playground.”
On Sunday, with a waxing gibbous moon, a few of us are gathering some of our community’s elementary-age kids for a ritual of empowerment before the school year officially starts. I’m hoping to help them identify some of the good things they are carrying from the summer, and perhaps find a way to carry the internal fortitude and resolve they will need for the year.
Here’s the altar on which we will bless their school supplies, and them.
I’ve been culling this month. Somehow in the past few weeks I’ve had more energy for pulling things off shelves and sending them to the thrift store, to friends and neighbors, to the recycling center. We sold the house in 2011, and I’ve been in this apartment since September 2013, so I guess I’m officially in the fourth year of the one-year downsizing project.
I’m painting again, though nothing good yet. I’m weaving again, though only a few inches of fabric so far. I have a stack of sewing repairs to do; some of the garments would be great to wear if I shortened their straps or moved their cuff-buttons.
I’m studying Time this month – what I think about it, how I use it, waste it, enjoy it, forget about it. What it means to be Old, at 70. What I tell myself about it when I’m not listening.
Maybe you do that, too. Does any of this sound familiar?
“I don’t have time for __”
“I ran out of time.”
“I can’t, I have a time conflict.”
“Where does the time go?”
“Time slips away from me.”
I’d like to weed those out of my speech. A few I prefer, that I find myself saying a bit more often:
“Time is on my side.”
“There’s plenty of time for __”
“I’m devoting some time to __”
In the meantime, I want to wish you a blissful September, which somehow always feels like the start of the year to me, even though I’ve spent many more years out of school than in. May we each reap a full harvest.
–Maggie Beaumont, halfway from Lammas to Mabon 2017