I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lammas 2015

From this Wiccan website
When August begins, we reach the season of Lammas, or Lughnasadh (in Celtic), the festival of the first harvest. Traditionally, the first grain of the harvest is baked into loaves. Here in my little corner of Bellingham, we had a garden party yesterday, and some of the people who labored in our garden celebrated Lammas with a wonderful little gathering. One person brought a potato salad made with little red potatoes from her plot; another shared a fabulous blackberry cobbler made with blackberries picked from the bushes on the side of the back yard. I didn't cook but provided cold beer and rose lemonade all frosty cold from my new cooler. We feasted and laughed and made plans for next year's garden.

Keith provided two large tents for shade, which were perfect for the hot sunny day we had. The other thing that Lammas marks is the halfway point between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox. That means the days are getting shorter and soon we'll have some respite from all this unaccustomed heat. Seattle has already had 12 days this summer at 90 or above, breaking the previous record of 9 days for the entire summer. Everything in my garden is pretty much done, except for the tomatoes, which are just beginning to turn! I've never been successful at growing tomatoes, other than small cherry tomatoes, but this year... I will have so many ripen all at once I'll have to figure out what to do with them all.

Lammas is also a time of reflection, when one realizes that everything changes and moves on. The days are perceptibly shorter, and I for one will be glad to see the endless sunshine and heat begin to moderate with fluffy clouds and some rain. I've definitely become a Pacific Northwesterner and feel irritable and uncomfortable with this hot, dry heat I associate with the desert. I keep looking at the forecast and every time there is a possibility of some precipitation, it dissipates as we get closer in time. But then again, heat is relative. We are not quite reaching 90 degrees here in Bellingham, and I read that in Iran this week the heat index reached an incredible 165! That is a temperature of 115 with a dew point of 90 -- off the charts. At least it cools off at night here to a tolerable level, which is not happening over there.

Okay, enough about the weather. It's on my mind a lot because I'm such a wimp about the heat. There are other things going on. Last week I went to Seattle to see the Broadway play Wicked with my friend Judy, and now I've started to read the book on which the play is based. So far I am enjoying it even more than the play, and I did enjoy that very much. It's based on a different view of the world of Oz and tells much more about how the Wicked Witch of the West got so, well, wicked. The book supposedly gives the reader some perspective on the nature of good and evil. I've only just begun.

I like to think of myself as being a good person, and I try to live my life that way. But I know that when I read about someone who is really evil, I can easily get into that headspace and understand why someone might be twisted by circumstances and is really no different from me at all. But I do believe that when confronted with a situation that gives me a choice to make, I'll choose the path of the least harm to me and those around me. Is that my nature or am I conditioned by my past experiences? I get angry sometimes, but I realize that I don't naturally take it out on others. Some people seem to need to externalize their anger onto those around them. I try to stay away from that sort of person, but sometimes we cross paths.

Is the world becoming more angry in general? I know that as an American, I  am dismayed by the bellicose stance we seem to have taken in much of the world these days. It wasn't always that way; I remember when we were coming out of World War II it seemed like Americans were the good guys in everybody's eyes. But that was more than half a century ago, and things change. We move on from who we once were into who we are now. Once upon a time I was a young woman with my whole life ahead of me; now I look at the world knowing that there are not many more years when I will be around. My mother used to say that she was glad she was old because she wouldn't have to experience the worst effects of our present trajectory. I'm beginning to understand what she meant.

Sometimes I am dismayed by the news of the day: climate change, water shortages and drought, floods and tornados wreaking havoc, and worst of all, shootings and bombings of innocents by extremist elements. But then I realize that our media considers all that stuff to be the only newsworthy information to be shared. Surely all over this planet there are good stories to balance all that negativity. But perhaps that's not considered interesting. Well, I certainly seek out stories that uplift me rather than bring me down. Sometimes I take a news fast, which seems to be the only way I've discovered to help me gain some perspective. For the next few days or so, I'll be lost in the world of Oz and contemplating the nature of good and evil, it seems. I'll check the weather, hoping for rain, but otherwise stay away from news shows. Do you have a technique for attitude adjustments?

At the beginning of this harvest season, I've got a smidgen of optimism that fall is not that far away, and that a change in the weather will bring a change in my outlook, knowing that I will move away from pessimism and once again enjoy the beauty of life, my surroundings, and especially my network of friends and family. There is so much to be thankful for, and all I need is to count my blessings, right? Let's see: I'll begin right here, with you, my dear readers, and I am looking forward to reading your comments and enjoying the company of the blogosphere.

I have never met most of you, but you have definitely taken residence in my heart. I look forward to your blogs, seeing what you're doing, what is on your mind, and taking a peek into your world through your writing and pictures. I feel incredibly fortunate to have found you, and I open my Reader wondering who I'll be visiting today. After I finish this post, I'll take a look. I wanted to get this written before I did anything else this morning. And what do you know? It's done! Be well and take care until we meet again next Sunday morning.


Red said...

Hot tip: Tomatoes will keep for quite a while...a few weeks. Depending on how many tomatoes you may have, you might be able to eat all of them fresh. On Twitter I follow a number of alternate news sources and get a different perspective on some issues. Here , I follow Tyee, Rabble and one more. They have been responsible for bringing out some government dirt.
I do worry about climate change. I'm very black about it. I believe we're over the tipping point and the damage and road back may not be possible.

Rian said...

DJan, I think a garden party to share the produce from your garden is such a wonderful idea. I wonder if the gardens around here do that.

As far as the heat goes, I'm not going to go there. Suffice to say it's hot.

Your view of the world and where it's heading is similar to my own. Years ago we had so little input as to what was going on elsewhere... and now maybe too much? Or is it because we hear mostly bad news? I do think that how and where we are brought up forms us into the people we are (and what we consider right and wrong)... and I'm not sure that anyone is going to change that except possibly time and persistence. And I too worry about the image of America... but it can't be too bad since so many keep trying to get here.

Linda Reeder said...

I freeze excess tomatoes whole. Just pop them into zip lock bags and stick them in the freezer. Then when you want some for soups or stew or sauce, take out however many you need, rinse them under hot water, or submerge them in a bowl of hot water, since we will need to conserve water now, and the skins slip off. Chunk them up and throw them into the soup pot.

For attitude adjustments, I can lose myself in a book or a good TV show or put old rock music on my iPod and go for a brisk walk.

I do feel like there has been a cloud over my head this summer, and I know it is weather related. With so little rain since way last spring, I have a constant worry hovering in the back of my brain about everything burning up, either figuratively or literally. As a gardener I wonder what the future holds for creating beauty and feeding the multitude.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind a frosty drink from your cooler right now. That party must have been lots of fun.

Actually, the heat isn't that bad when you have a/c. What a great invention.

I also echo your words about good and evil. This dichotomy will never die.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Your garden party sounds like fun! With the heat you are having your Tomatoes should be great, tomatoes like it warm!
I often take news breaks, I can only take bad news for so long and it depresses me. Those days I turn the channel to Little House or The Waltons...:)
I hope you cool off soon, we have cooled a bit here highs forecast in the 70's this week which is just perfect for me! I don't like hot and humid either.
I hope you have a good week, it is always nice to visit you here on Sundays:)

Arkansas Patti said...

I feel the need of a news fast also. My goodness, is everyone cranky these days. So much anger and violence in the news but as you said, that sells more than the nice stories. Sad commentary. Sometimes I am glad I am old but then I feel badly for my young family members who have to stick around.
Hope you cool off soon. We were so excited this week as the temps dropped to low nineties with low humidity. Don't know how you PNW folks make it with out A/C.

Elephant's Child said...

Love the community garden party.
In the past I have made chutney when there have been toooooo many tomatoes for me to consume any other way.
News fast? Oh yes. I can (usually) read it, but I cannot watch or listen to it. I think I have most problem with it because there is so little I can do to make a positive difference.
Sadly, there was a good news newspaper started up many years ago - and it folded because no-one was interested enough to buy it. Which means that we have to accept some responsibility for our diet of doom and gloom.

Gigi said...

The garden party sounds fun! I see a lot of BLT's in your future!

I'm very selective about the news I read/see. It can be very depressing, so I try to pick stories that are more uplifting.

Have a great week, my friend!

Retired English Teacher said...

The news has not been good lately. That is for sure. Thankfully, there is more to life than what we see, feel, and smell. There is hope.

The Furry Gnome said...

Our heat and dry weather has ended, with so far about 9 hours of rain today including some very heavy thunder storms. Nowhere as dry as you have it though. I can't stand the news, and now do a lot of blog reading instead of television watching, but I do follow Canadian politics. I just get so frustrated that I can't DO anything about it though!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

It seems to me that the world generally is more polarized, with a widening disparity between rich and poor. But each of us can make a difference by living true to our ideals and beliefs. Great post, DJan.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, Eye on the Edge has a special spot in my blogosphere. I always look forward to your weekly musing but sometimes I put off reading it as opposed to many of the other blogs I’m following. Why? Well, I enjoy your writing most when I have a quiet moment sometimes referred to as “quality time.” Often I’m rewarded with a sort of rebalancing by reading your reflections on life and comparing them to my own. This definitely happened today as I read your comments on the news and how it is mostly so negative. Several people have told me that I’m a typical “older person” because I like to watch the evening news on one of the major networks … usually ABC or CBS. Maybe, as you mentioned, I should fast for a few days. I’m certainly going to consider it seriously. Now, regarding the weather … I’ve lived in the Northwest for over three decades and this has been the worst summer by far for the uncomfortable heat. I’m right there with you on getting it over as soon as possible. I commend you, however, for finding a positive in it … a bumper crop of tomatoes. Home-grown tomatoes … oh, my … they are the BEST! Enjoy your crop and … it sounds like … you might have some lucky neighbors! :-) Have a fine week ahead and thank you for sharing.

peppylady (Dora) said...

Our local pagan group didn't do anything for Mid summer. But we just harvest our shallots out of the garden.
Still pretty hot and also smokey from all the Forrest fires but I front is coming in and we could use some rain.
I stop in form "Annie"

Coffee is on

Glenda C. Beall said...

Although I am late reading and responding, I enjoyed this post very much. I often take news breaks and seldom watch the network news shows. I like public TV for most everything these days and listen to BBC news at times to get a more balanced prospective. There is a saying that "if it bleeds, it leads" in journalism so we get only the worst news stories, hardly every any good news. I like our little local paper which has a page full of all the kids doings in our county. We have pictures of local people doing good works, winning awards in local organizations, and all those stories make me smile.It makes me realize that the same things are going on in small towns all over this great country all the time. When I stop and think, I realize that all that hoopla on the TV news is not my America, not the country I live in and admire. Sadly, too many people watch the TV news all day long. They become brain washed by whatever they see and soon believe that our whole country is going to hell in a hand basket. I haven't watched the news since Sunday morning and don't plan to watch it until next Sunday. Hope you have a great week.