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Summertime

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The local tv station which we watch for the weather has been doing a countdown until summer.  Whoever decided summer starts with the solstice either lived in the north or was an astrologer who only went out at night.  That reckoning makes no sense in the southwestern desert.  School wound up in May and will begin again in August.  100 degree days are already appearing.

John Emerson Roberts took four months off, from early June to the first of October.   It was a point of honor for him that he returned to the farm each year.  In fact, he considered returning to the farm a cure for much of what was ailing society, including high prices.  In 1916 he said,

JERB. . . the farm is being made more unattractive to boys and girls by the reformers who would even prohibit billiard balls and bowling alleys.  We have to get down to the fundamental thing and have got to make the farm laborer’s life more attractive, as the experiment stations and agricultural universities are trying to do.

“Men and women must be persuaded to see that the only life in on the soil,” Roberts said.  But all he could promise was that “they will have the consciousness of living their own way.”

Roberts was able to live his own way by lecturing eight months of the year, and leaving town for four.  Kansas City must have been pretty uncomfortable in summer’s heat.  Who would relish getting dressed up for a lecture at 11:00 a.m. on a July Sunday morning?  It was good business to close for the season.

I write in comfort thanks to my swamp cooler.  Air conditioning has spoiled us. Yet even air-conditioned churches find that attendance, and therefore receipts, go down in the summer.

So much has, and so much has not, changed in 100 years.

Burrowing

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There are seasons and there are seasons.  Nature’s seasons go at a regular pace, though the weather varies.  Not so the internal seasons.  I’ve been lax at the blog posts for a while now, because I feel like I’m in a burrowing season, not a communicative one.

It didn’t help that we’ve had two hail storms this month.  The first destroyed four skylights.  The second destroyed the roof.  There’s something about holes in the roof that makes one feel that there is really no place safe.hailThis post is to explain my silence, so I can stop feeling guilty about it.  I’m going to play prairie dog and dig myself a nice, comfy hole to winter in.  And see what I find down there.

Beginning Again, Again

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In a recent post, Marylin Warner pointed out that today, March 25, is Old New Year’s Day. She posted this information a few days ago so that readers might think about what they would like to do over from the January 1 New Year. A New Year is an opportunity to make a fresh start, to correct past mistakes and begin again. You can read her post at: http://warnerwriting.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/unfinished-business/

I was aware that March 25 is the Feast of the Annunciation, honoring the appearance of the Angel Gabriel to Mary to announce the incarnation of Jesus. What I did not know until I did some research is that there is a direct connection between the Annunciation and the old New Year.

The Christian scholars of many centuries ago understood that the incarnation of Christ marked the beginning of a new age. They set the beginning of this incarnation at conception, nine months before the birth of Jesus. Since a new age began on March 25, so must the year of the new age’s calendar, the Years of Our Lord, from which the suffix A.D. (Anno Domini) derives. To know which year it was required starting the year on the same day as the day of the incarnation.

It makes as much sense to start the year a few days after the Spring Equinox as it does to start it ten days after the Winter Solstice. Any day makes a good day for a fresh start. But I’m glad we don’t start our year on March 25. For me, the Feast of the Annunciation has a different significance. Coming as it most often does before Easter, it suggests to me that things have a way of beginning again before the last cycle is over. This is how ritual includes a whole lifetime in its rhythm of days and seasons. It is also a reminder of our human condition. We believe that one thing should end and then another can begin. Things often don’t work that way.

Whether you celebrate a new year, a new season, or a new day, take time to make something right if you are aware of something that is broken.

Happy Autumn!

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Autumn’s just beginning, but I’m thinking of the tree outside my window at my old house: a small red-leaved maple.  Beside it in the front yard was a small green-leaf maple, so in fall we had a two-toned orange and red carpet across the lawn.

Autumn is my favorite season, though I don’t dislike any of them.  It’s the time when my energy rises and all things seem possible.  “Maybe this is the year I reach my full potential,” my heart sings, even as my head labors to track all the events filling the calendar.  So much of our activity rises and falls with the school schedule, though no one in the household has been in school for many a year.  This is the pattern of society, and I think the weather has more to do with it than we may want to believe.Now, instead of the decades-old maple tree, probably planted when the house was built, I look out my window at a small mesquite tree, just six years old, which I planted myself.  It too will turn color later in the season, though its color will be a rather uninspired yellow.  It and I have settled in together.  It is now growing at a steady pace, and so can I.

On the day I began drafting this post, a roadrunner appeared in our back yard.  This pleased me greatly, because I want our yard, small though it is, to be a wildlife haven.  How he came in I have no idea, but he was finding good things to eat.  He wouldn’t pose for the camera, but here he is enjoying the shade of the small mesquite tree.

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