When I was growing up Southern Baptist, we did not observe the liturgical calendar. In my mind, Lent was one of those strange things Roman Catholics did that seemed to involve lots of eating fish.
I didn’t become aware that there was any more to Lent (or any other season in the liturgical calendar) until I was an adult and chose to become Episcopalian. Perhaps because I came to it as an adult, I have found the observe of the liturgical seasons to be a rich source of meaning. It’s a time to focus on different modes of being in a special way.
“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” ~Mary Oliver
I’ve always loved this quote because it’s taken me years to understand that the darkness in my own life is a gift. It often does not feel that way at the time, but it is a gift nevertheless. And recognizing it as such in the moment, even when I can’t see it, makes the darkness easier to bear.
Every year as the weather gets cold, I start craving comfort food in a big way. And when it’s cold, comfort food to me means hot soups and stews, particularly thick ones made with lots of vegetables and beans.
Comfort food also means lots of root vegetables, especially roasted ones. I feast on potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, parsnips, carrots, rutabagas, sunchokes (a.k.a. Jerusalem artichokes), and beets. And I’m quick to throw in other vegetables while I’m roasting too: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes.
It’s beginning to really feel like Fall here, as the temperatures cool down, especially at night. I’m beginning to see the first signs of the season in the natural world around me as plants begin the preparation for winter.
On the one hand, Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, filled with so many delights and treats for the eyes and the senses. On the other hand, I become ever more keenly aware each year that this season heralds winter, which I find to be so challenging with its dark and cold. (I have a hard time really getting warm for months at a time!) So for me, Fall is perfect definition of bittersweet.
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to get outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature, and the Universe. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.” ~Anne Frank
In the dark, cold days of winter, it is easy for me to forget how healing the simple act of being outside in nature can be. We were blessed in this part of the country with a beautiful, warm, sunny day here today. It was a bit cloudy this morning, but by afternoon the skies were an amazing blue and the temperatures were in the upper 70s. What a delight after the long winter of dark, dreary, cold days.
I had moved out to my sun room to write so I could see the outdoors, and from there I could see all the work that needed to be done in the yard. As lovely as the day was, however, I found myself hesitant to head outside.
I have a deep yearning to find a way to live my life in sync with my own internal rhythms and the rhythms of the natural world around me. I currently spend so much energy trying to fight these natural rhythms in an attempt to impose on myself the kind of bland consistency that our business world requires, and I’m tired of it. Continue reading →