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Posts Tagged ‘summer’

Yes, that is the title of a Bones episode. But it fits!

As in, the garden has ended:

The Empty-For-Now Garden

Last weekend my parents came to help us out before the baby. Mom and I spent some time pulling up all of the spent vines and all of the buggified vines. It was sad, in a way, but also left me with a great feeling of accomplishment. I had finished a garden season, from preparing to planting to harvesting to giving the vines back to the earth in the form of the compost bin.

But even as that part of the garden ended, yesterday Jonathan planted corn and pumpkins for the fall. In six weeks, after Claire, the kitchen garden will start again with spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, leeks, lettuce, carrots…It’s not that far away.

However, the more present beginning on my mind is having a baby.

I like the idea of having a Lughnasadh baby. Claire and I have been on a journey together since Samhain, followed through a dark winter into Imbolc, and with Beltane and the Summer Solstice I really began to accept motherhood and the changes that would follow. It just seems so perfect that I’d have her around harvest and that we’d become more acquainted as the sun waned again towards Mabon and Samhain.

Anyway. There’s not much to say besides that. I’m definitely in a period of waiting. I’ve been full term for two weeks now and have another three to go before any sort of drastic measure might be taken. I’ve had “signs” but “signs” don’t mean much, so I’m just here waiting.

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Happy Summer Solstice/Midsummer/Litha, everyone!

I intended to wake up this morning to watch the sun rise. Instead, I woke instead at 7:38, precisely 10 minutes after the official solstice time in my time zone.

Alas. Such is the value of sleep to a 8-month pregnant woman.

So today I have been taking photos during my errands of things that seem ‘solstice-y’ to me and making notes in “that journal”–the one that’s not my main one, but I don’t know what to call it yet.

Hope you enjoy.

Solstice Breakfast: biscuits and honey, watermelon and blueberries, eaten while observing the early-morning garden

Some lily in our yard. I love the vibrant orange color.

Solstice tomato: our tomato plants are doing well and beginning to blush in earnest.

Cucumber blossom. I mainly took this picture for the lovely spiral...creeper thing.

Sunflowers at the Natural Gardener

Another sunflower at the Natural Gardener

I added lemon verbena into my iced tea this afternoon. It smells like the sun.

Getting ready for our own harvest ;): cloth diapers and accoutrements.

Musings:

It’s been interesting to pregnant along with the Wheel of the Year. I’ve seen a lot of images of heavily pregnant women for Litha and it’s…well, it’s encouraging. Being heavily pregnant has been difficult. It’s easier to focus on the pain-in-the-ass parts of pregnancy (which are many and hard to ignore) instead of enjoying the body’s capabilities.

As I look out at my garden I’m reminded that this is a time when ‘Nature’ is doing an extraordinary amount of work as well. The resources even a small garden like mine takes (and the garden only provides 50%, maybe, of our spring-summer produce) are astounding. The soil, the fertilizer, the water, the time, the materials—and we’re not even doing it well. We’re bumping along in our first season.

Today has reminded me to be grateful for the work the (literal) earth does for me, for my family. It reminds me to be grateful for my body, which through its stretch marks and contractions, pains and indignities, is preparing for an amazing event.

Driving around to all of my various errands I also thought about what summer meant to me as a kid. How days spread out, endless in possibility, hot and boring, and to quote an Iron & Wine song summer held “our endless numbered days”. School would start back…eventually…but there was a liminal quality to summer, a caught-in-between-ness. My summers were filled with sno-cones in unnatural colors (split pina colada and margarita, flat top, double cream), the beach, books (books, books, books), trips to the library, sleeping in and the Beach Boys.

Now that the demarcation of school has passed, summer, especially July and August and September, is more of an annoyance. The time of year when the you can never get cool, when energy bills rise to extreme levels, ice tea is consumed by the gallon, your car is a hellacious oven of doom.

But today…the beginning of summer…also marks, ironically, the beginning of its end. The days grow shorter now as we edge towards Lughnasadh, and then Mabon and then Samhain. In Central Texas Lughnasadh is the last of our harvest, when we set our gardens and fields to rest throughout the relentless eat of August and the beginning of September. On the holiday of Mabon we’ll start again, planting cool-season crops to bring us through the winter months.

So really…it’s not that far away. Time won’t stop. The garden will die–in only a few weeks. The baby will come—only a few weeks after that. Then it will be time to start anew.

Enjoy your longest day everyone! Thanks for sticking with this wandering post 🙂

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Ah, the house is quiet.  A weekend of visitors and comings and goings and finally there is peace. I took a short nap, ate some leftover cake and I’m now contemplating a trip to my local used book store for some inspirational reading.

A few months ago I mentioned several books I had bought and several paths I intended to read. I finished Drawing Down the Moon and most of the introductory exercises in Paganism: An Introduction to Earth Centered Religions by the Higginbothams. I enjoyed both.

However, concerted spiritual practice slipped away from me in the months of March and April. I don’t know why—it was one of those life things, I suppose, just happens. It doesn’t mean that I wasn’t aware of…things? what label is really appropriate?….but just that I didn’t act on them.

This week, however, something changed. You know what it was? The seasons. When the seasons shift I can feel it in my very marrow, and it snaps my attention back to where it should be. Like nature, or some entity, or some awareness, is shaking me.

And finally I pay attention.

This week summer arrived in Central Texas. My first awareness: on Thursday, Friday and Saturday the air became so hot, so heavy, so pregnant (hah!), if you will, that it just had to rain. So for half an hour each afternoon sheets and sheets of rain poured down. Thunder clapped in the distance. Afterwards the sun came out, and the early evening air became perfumed with the smells of rain, grass and dirt. On my evening walk it it seemed like I could smell every flower, every petal. The combination of twilight and mist made my walk like a journey through a watercolor.

Second awareness: yesterday I ate watermelon and grilled corn. I picked my first red tomato earlier this week. I have jalapenos dangling off their stalk. A tiny bell pepper is nestled among other bell pepper buds. My tomato vines are so heavy with fruit that they keep toppling their cages. Eggplants hang off their bush like little purple Christmas ornaments.  I even have a baby cantaloupe I couldn’t be more proud of.

Third awareness: It. Is. Hot. The past few days it has been hot and muggy, but today the air has changed. Central Texas is moving from early summer (late April through early June) into summer-summer. Hot, dry, still. No breeze, no movement. Life becomes somewhat paralyzed under the sun.

So, again, I am shaken, and I am grateful for it. I view it as a continuation, another chance and a (not so) gentle reminder that life cycles. Life continues. And when my eyes are on my naval and my gaze is too concerned with the petty to pay attention and engage in the important (small or large) I miss out.

It seems like this is a common cycle in my life. Any reader can see this in my blog: the flurry of activity and posting and then the silence for a few weeks or months. I can’t explain it. I’m not sure I should explain it: none of what I read, or learn, or do in the flurry of activity is ever lost. I am a composter by nature, meaning, I gather lots of material in a short time and then I sit. Occasionally I stir it. But mostly I just sit and…compost.

So far, I don’t have much humus. I’m still raw ingredients, greens and browns, apple cores and egg shells. Hopefully though…hopefully one day I’ll be humus à la moi.

And…that’s all I have for now. Is it summer where you are? What does that mean for you?

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Lavander, provence (Lavandula intermedia 'Provence'). Just bloomed two days ago.

Today I am in the midst of a cleaning frenzy, pregnant style. Meaning that where frenzy would have been an apt description before the third trimester, right now it’s more like a cleaning…putter. But the same amount of work still has to be done.

Truthfully, it’s the kind of cleaning I like the least. It’s pressure cleaning, when people who you want to impress are coming to your house. Not cleaning for pleasure (it’s possible!) or cleaning for cleansing purposes. At least, I thought it wasn’t.

But as soon as I started sweeping I felt a change. I could see the dust and cat hair gathering and the house just began to feel…cleaner. More pure. I wiped up grime in the guest bathroom and guest bedroom and felt a certain joy that my guests (my parents and in-laws in this case) would have a clean, fresh place to sleep and dream.

These moments of clarity were definitely interspersed with hot flashes, sweating and a stiff lower back. I can’t squat very well, or kneel, or rise. It’s one of the most obvious but also the most difficult to accept aspects of pregnancy: for all of its work to create new life, pregnancy takes from the mother, most notably independence. Independence in the way that we are never alone, always toting a little baby with us, but also that as we grow bigger we grow less able. More dependent.

Truthfully, I haven’t accepted that yet. I still do too much and don’t ask for help. My husband gets on to me, especially during the night when I try to roll over by myself and end up giving myself charlie horses. It seems so simple—roll over in bed! But yet I need him to give me a push. Or get out of bed—I need him to help me out some mornings too. It’s almost embarrassing.

Even more than asking my husband for help, I haven’t begun admitting to myself that I need to help…myself. Take it easier. Enjoy pregnancy more. Not be so frantic, not give in to mental confusion and mental dust.

So that brings us to today. Sweeping, mopping, bending, kneeling, rising, dusting. Cleaning and cleansing, both the house and the mind. Making room for new energy, new thoughts and ideas and dreams. Putting the confusion and stress in its proper place, and welcoming instead peace and joy.

Easier said than done, just like cleaning the house.

The garden, May 2010. We've harvested squash and cucumbers and one tomato! More squash, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers and melons are on their way. We'll plant corn this weekend....hopefully....

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