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Archive for the ‘Seasons & Cycles’ Category

Monday 20th March is the date when night and day will be equal.  After this our days in the southern hemisphere will slowly get shorter and the nights longer.  We will move from summer to winter, from light to dark, and from outer to inner.  The equinox is a time of balance throughout the globe, one of the two times of the year when both hemispheres have days and nights of equal length.

Our ritual group met to celebrate this festival, with a meditation that encouraged us to consider what our psychological harvest might be, and how we might sustain ourselves through the darker time.  We each received a small parcel of seeds to take home and plant, in preparation for spring.

“If only the whole world could be
in balance psychologically.”

 

 

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As yesterday was Shrove Tuesday we had pancakes, or rather crepes, the thinner version that is my preference.

crepes-small

The day is named for the Christian custom of being ‘shriven’ before Lent.  The idea was to go to confession and be given absolution.  Pancake day was the time to use up rich foods such as sugar, milk, and eggs, before starting the Lenten fast.

Spring fasting (in the northern hemisphere) dates back to Roman times.  The women of Rome observed a period of chastity and fasting throughout the Kalends of March after their Matronalia or Feast of the Mothers, until the festival of Ceres in April.  This custom, originally intended to ensure the fertility and vitality of the crops, was copied by the Christian church and converted into the forty day fast of Lent.

“For forty days eggs would not last
so eat them up before you fast.”

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The beginning of February is the festival of Lammas, or First Fruits.  It’s the start of the harvest, when we look forward to what the full harvest may be.  Our group focussed on the many things we have to be grateful for, and we each filled a ‘gratitude jar’ with symbols.  I put a fairy sticker on the lid of my jar to indicate my gratitude for the magic and spontaneity in my life.

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What fruit is ripening in your life right now?  This pagan chant reminds us that all life is cyclical:

“Corn and grain, corn and grain
all that falls shall rise again.”

 

 

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We drove up the Horotane Valley (by the end of Port Hills Rd) to get these luscious tree-ripened apricots.  They were $5 a kilo, and far superior to those offered in the supermarket.  The apricot shop will be open until the end of January, and they also have tomatoes and cucumbers.

When I was a child there was an enormous apricot tree in our back garden and we feasted on these every January.  My mother gave away boxes of them, filled dozens of preserving jars, and made apricot jam.  One year, when my brother was doing his compulsory military training, learning to fly Tiger Moths at Taieri Aerodrome, my mother, not wanting him to miss the annual harvest, sent a crate of apricots down by rail.  My brother later told me that while they were appreciated they were completely unnecessary as he was enjoying five course dinners in the officers’ mess.

“These Horotane apricots
remind me of my childhood – lots.”

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December is filled with end-of-year functions.   There are meals at restaurants, BYO picnics, shared lunches & desserts, and simply getting together with friends.  Baking happens more often than at any other time of the year.  This morning I made cheese puffs for the WEA Xmas lunch.

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This is the third batch I’ve made in a week.  Not to mention spicy rhubarb cake, chocolate brownies, etc.

The WEA event had a great community atmosphere with several groups presenting items.  Our play-reading group read ‘A Politically Correct Christmas Poem’.

Singing for Pleasure group

Singing for Pleasure group

“This month there’s lots of times for taking
a contribution from your baking.”

 

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The cherry blossom’s out in Harper Avenue, always a joyful sign of spring.

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I couldn’t resist crossing the road to enjoy the daffodils too.

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When people are crossing, the traffic lights stop the cars to let pedestrians and cyclists through – just as it should be.

“The cherry blossom is superb
with daffodils beside the kerb.”

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A mother duck was swimming beside The Terraces this morning with eight new ducklings.

Duck family

Duck family

The eels were nearby, and mother duck was doing her best to keep the family away from them.

Eel family

Eel family

I doubt that there’ll still be eight ducklings tomorrow.  On the other side of the river two scaupe were sleeping in the sunshine.

Sleepy scaupe

Sleepy scaupe

“A lovely warm and sunny day
means summer’s surely on the way.”

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