Friday, July 31, 2009

Today is the end of July and it’s the last working day of the month so it’s payday—yeah! Tomorrow is the first of August, the last holiday month of the summer—boo! I have a bittersweet relationship with August. While I love the fact that it is still nice weather and the first fruits of the harvest are being reaped, I feel the sands of summer trickling through the hour glass of my time away from school.

Now is the time for thoughtful parents to prepare for their children to return to school. Me, too. September can be an extremely expensive month with the purchase of supplies, clothes, shoes, backpacks, emergency packs, and pictures. When mine were going to school they also sold insurance in Fall. I don’t know if they still do that. I never availed myself of that which I purchased, but I guess it bought some peace of mind for me. I remember September as being a month where the money just flew out of my wallet. Nowadays if you’ve a child in high school you also have to pony up for a graphing calculator which in all likelihood your child will never use after fulfilling their math requirement and you will not know how to use for that garage sale because the thing is too complicated.

If you aren’t sending a child or grandchild back to school, remember those low-income children who do not want to arrive on the first day in last year’s things and no supplies. There are always donation bins at banks and grocery stores where you can put in a package of paper or box of pencils that will be greatly appreciated.

August first is the Celtic celebration of Lughnasa or the first harvest festival. It honored the Irish god Lugh. I can see why the Ancient Celts celebrated the time of year. It was the time for them to begin reaping the rewards of the work of Spring and Summer and begin to think about the coming Fall. I am always a season ahead mentally so some ancient memory must linger in my brain that even in this age of super markets (emphasis on “super,” as in huge) and shopping malls I am always planning for the season to come; so in Summer I plan for Fall and Winter. For instance I am currently scouring thrift shops for footed pajamas for a grandson size 6-7 and a granddaughter size 5.

It is lovely that Lughnasa is falling on a Saturday this year which in Ilwaco is also farmers’ market day. We can have a Lughnasa dinner filled with the flavor of the first harvest. Since I incorporate different things into our tradition I will probably prepare Gormeh Sabzi, a Persian dish, for our Celtic celebration. I’ve posted the recipe previously. You can fiddle with it and use whatever is on hand. I like to use broth instead of water and I use the crock-pot because preparing a meal in one costs about eight cents in electricity and stays in line with my commitment to walk gently on this Earth that gives us Her bounty.

August means the blackberries will begin to ripen. With not much rain this summer I don’t know fat they will be. Right now the ones in my departed neighbor Viola’s yard are just beginning to turn with just the point-men at the end of the clumps beginning to darken. August means blackberry pie and milk-cartons filled with the frozen fruit for use in Winter.

The nip in the air which will come toward the end of the month will also herald the beginning of the end of Summer though the nice days will linger into September, the night s along the coast will remind us that Autumn is coming. After the heat wave we’ve come through, nippy nights sound delightful!

For further reading on Lugnasa, which has many different spellings, click here.

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