Mar 20, 2013

Celebrating the Season Change

Photo by B. A peaceful walk through a garden would be
a lovely way to celebrate the season.
Today is the first day of spring. If you live in the north, the spring equinox is often more of a mental finish line than a physical one, since it is likely still cold and snowy. Here in the southeast, we've had daffodils up for almost a month and just this week the fruit trees started blossoming. We've had 60 and even 70 degree days mixed in with some 30, 40, and 50 degree ones. To this northerner, it feels more like the beginning of summer than spring, but I'm not complaining.

The season changes are an important time for me. I suppose they are my sacred days, much like Easter and Christmas for most of my extended family. On the equinoxes and solstices especially, I feel great reverence for this planet and all of its amazing systems, elements, and inhabitants. It also is a time for me to start again on a clean slate, washing away whatever has been weighing me down and starting fresh. A new season is like the new year — a new opportunity and outlook. I try to celebrate these season changes in little, meaningful ways. More often than not, it's just by acknowledging the day and the importance of the new season in my life.

The small celebratory actions that we've taken have been touch and go, and haven't grown or developed into consistent actions. I've always dreamed, though, that B and I would create rituals around these important days. So on this vernal equinox, my very first season change in my new home, I'll share with you a few (free or nearly free) ideas I have for seasonal rituals.

Homemade Cards
We get greeting cards for a variety of holidays. I'd like to start giving homemade cards to my friends and family on the equinoxes and solstices, a friendly reminder to notice the change of seasons and a great opportunity to let them know they are in my thoughts. Since this would need to be done ahead of the equinox or solstice, it would also ensure that it didn't sneak up on me and give me time to think about how I'll celebrate on the day.

A Hike or Alternative Outing
I used to teach outdoor and environmental education, and we were outside all the time, every season, rain or shine. I was very in tune to the natural world and its changes, and since it was my job to be outside I became acclimated to all weather and temperatures. After leaving that work, I got soft. It was harder to go out when it was cold or rainy since I didn't have to spend the day out there, so I'd just stay inside as much as possible. With this shift I became increasingly disconnected to the seasonal changes, and with that the wonderful surprises of the natural world that I had always enjoyed — the birds singing, the wind blowing through the trees, honeybees landing on flowers, the first greenery popping through the topsoil.

My life now doesn't afford me hours each day to experience the outside. But I hope to plan a purposeful hike, or paddle, or bike ride to celebrate and experience each season and season change.

A Recognition of the Disappearance or Return of Light
A simple candle lighting ritual would remind me of the significance of the season change to the increasing or reducing amount of day length and sunlight available in the upcoming months. Recognizing the change may help me be better prepared for the shorter days of winter or more appreciative of the longer days of spring.

Listening to live music, I think, is one of the best ways to celebrate the change of seasons. It just makes me feel more alive. We are going to listen to an old time jam downtown in a few hours, and I'm happy to acknowledge spring's arrival in this way.

How do you celebrate the season change? Do you have any rituals you do or hope to do?

No comments:

Post a Comment