30 August 2010

August 2010 Newsletter

Lazy Days of Summer?

Message on one of the local school’s marquee: “Enjoy your summer, but be ready for the first day back on August 30!” What? Already? Nooooo…

Does anyone else remember summer break being longer and more luxurious? I don’t mean luxury like a fancy cruise, more like long days kicked back reading novels and hanging out near (and in) water. Plenty of time to be with friends, walk in the woods, go camping, star-gaze, feel like life is easy and carefree.

And yet, here it is, August, with the end of summer looming. Only a few short weeks before school’s back in session, before the crispness of autumn creeps back into the air. I am not ready, physically or emotionally. Which I suppose isn’t very Zen-accepting of me, but sometimes I just don’t feel like going gracefully into that dark night.

Still, the seasons sing a natural rhythm, and we’re probably better off if we can live in harmony with them. It’s harder to tune one’s life to nature’s rhythms when our lives are conducted by the cultural calendar: arbitrary dates of school sessions, unconscionably short vacations from 40-hour workweeks. Even our modes of building and transportation separate us from nature’s rhythms. But it’s do-able.

For me, working only 10 to 15 hours each week, living in the country, and having a garden have strengthened my connection to nature’s cycles. But even city-folk who work full-time and have black thumbs can build a relationship with natural time by nurturing their awareness of it.

Which brings me to this month’s invitation. I invite you to start noticing the little details of the season. What is special to this time of year in your region? In the coastal river valley I call home, the blackberries will be ready to begin picking by the end of the month, and the spider webs are sparkling with dew. This is the month when the Farmers’ Market is bursting with produce and variety. When the river is barely a creek. When the hay has all been bailed and moved, and the Jersey cows cross that trickling river to graze in the pasture outside my kitchen window.

I’d love to hear what you notice about the natural rhythms of August in your neck of the woods!

Tip of the Month

Replace the word “routine” with the word “rhythm.” The goal in time management is to create a gentle flow to our days, not a rigid structure. Think of your life as a float down river. What do you need to do in the morning before putting in? What do you do when you take out (end your day and prepare for bed)?

Quotes of the Month
"Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous. That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor." – Paul Hawken

"I think over again my small adventures, my fears, those small ones that seemed so big, all those vital things I had to get and to reach, and yet there is only one great thing: to live and see the great day that dawns, and the light that fills the world." -- Old Innuit Song

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