Today is August 1st. The beginning of the end (of summer). The reality check. The first day that I remember that the year is 2/3 of the way over and try as I might, I still let it slip right through my outstretched fingers.
I begin every year, not with resolutions, but with setting an intention. Every year I promise myself that something about this coming year will be different. That this year I won’t let it all slip by without grabbing hold and noticing it in some significant way. I plan to put down roots and stones to mark each occasion. We’ll make it known that we were here. Life happened and we saw it with our eyes wide open in full awareness.
This never happens.
Each year it seems that the very opposite occurs and life slips right by us completely unannounced. I lose the larger picture of the year in my attempt to just get through the day. My almanac sits untouched. The moon drifts through the sky in all of its phases and I’m lucky if I notice it at all.
I’d like to remedy that in some small way. August can be a significant time and I’d like to take advantage of that. As Bronwynn Forrest Torgerson put it:
August is about claiming our power…to end a time of terror and to break any self-imposed restrictions that prevent us from being healthy, happy, whole, and moving forward.
….August also seems destined to be the month we lay claim to things and call to them by name. (page 125)
Given that we’re in the midst of our Summer Vacation (with capital letters), I’m going to take advantage of this and set an intention for the entire month (versus the rest of the year…I need to start small). In August I’m going to:
- Lay claim to things and call them by name (be honest with myself and speak up).
- Grasp hold of this month and walk through it with my eyes wide open in awareness.
- Set down roots and stones of remembrance.
- Find me in the midst of we.
Which brings me to the larger significance of today (though there is some variation in dates) – Lammas.
Today, as the wheel of the year turns again, we find ourselves in the first of three harvest festivals. The focus is on thankfulness for the bounty of harvests, which is particularly apt this year in the middle of a drought, with feed corn prices likely to go up and in return the prices that we pay for just about anything at the grocery store.
For some the focus will be on the Celtic deity Lugh, but really, cultures across the span of human history have often had a deity related to crops, the harvest, and the food we all need to survive. For us there is no deity, but we’re still mindful of the harvest that fills our bellies and the work (and hardship) that those who grow the food we eat put into it. We don’t start our fall related decorating until the equinox, but for many this will mark the first harvest related changes to altars and homes.
The husband is working today so there will be no grand celebration. There will be bread, though. And the moon. Did you know that tonight there will be a full moon (the first of two this month)? As long as the sky is clear we’ll definitely make it a point to not miss the moon in its journey through space around our planet.
The rest of our celebration will have to wait until the end of the week. I’m thinking a hike, a picnic, and a fire in the backyard. Maybe sweet corn if we can find it and BLTs.
Well, I was planning something bigger, but unbeknownst to me the husband is working on Friday (the one free day in the next 17 days that we had for a family celebration). Given the difficulty and disappointment I encountered when explaining to the husband that he didn’t have enough hours on Friday when he wasn’t working to do what I had planned, I’m glad I didn’t tell the kids about any of it.
stupid brave enough to do anything more elaborate with the kids by myself, so there’s still bread and the moon and that’s not nothing.
It reminds me of a story from Jon J. Muth’s “Zen Shorts” –
My uncle sat and looked at the moon, its silvery light spilling over the mountains, making all things quietly beautiful.
“Poor man,” lamented my uncle. “All I had to give him was my tattered robe. If only I could have given him this wonderful moon.”
“Your uncle sounds nice,” said Addy. “I don’t think I could have given away my only robe.”
“I know how that is,” said Stillwater. “But there’s always the moon.”
There’s always the moon.