Today is Midsummer. Lammas or Lughnasadh is upon us. Lughnasadh or Lughnasa (pronounced /ˈluːnəsə/, LOO-nə-sə; Irish: Lúnasa, /ˈl̪ˠuːn̪ˠəsˠə/; Scottish Gaelic: Lùnastal, [ˈl̪ˠu:nəsd̥əl̪ˠ]; Manx: Luanistyn, [ˈluanɪst̪ən]) is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.
In the early mornings at work, as I take my break and stand outside soaking in the beginnings of the day, I hear crows calling from their perch on tops of buildings and from pine trees and power poles. Their insistent caws are a harbinger of cooler days and autumn scents. While it seems wrong to speak of the lessening of our daylight hours when the temperatures locally are still hovering at the 90* mark, all too soon leaves will begin to change and cold winds will chase the tendrils of bonfire smoke across the sky.
For now, though, the bounty of the diligent farmers and urban gardeners are filling baskets and bags with fruits and vegetables. From apples to zucchini, industrious hands and sweaty brows are preserving and processing foods to be enjoyed and shared with friends and neighbors. Beets and beans, corn and cucumbers, tomatoes and turnips. Farmer's markets and roadside stands are awash in produce to be carried home and prepared 'just the way Momma always made it'.
Hay is cut, and baled or rolled to feed the livestock through the cold months. Early mornings yield the sound of engines echoing through the mountain fog and river mist, as the heavier labors are tackled before the heat of the day builds and then breaks with rumbles of thunder and work stopping rain. If you drive through rural communities, you are very likely to spy someone sitting on the front porch snapping beans after supper, listening to the song of birds and the croak of frogs.
Shadows are already growing long, and the lush shades of green brought forth by the blessed evening rains carry the scent of warm soil and blooming flowers.
And so the wheel turns.
Busy days have been the norm, and busier times are ahead.
I plan to take time, this August, time to see and smell and hear and just be. Less time for mindless entertainment and politics, more time for mindfulness and nurturing my friendships. More time for me and you my friends to savor the gifts of love and caring we share. In the large, and small, ways that we enrich the lives of others we reap a harvest of the spirit.
I have a vision of Earth, healed, one kind word and caring deed at a time.