Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Song for the Seasons

When the merry lark doth gild
With his song the summer hours,
And their nests the swallows build
In the roofs and tops of towers,
And the golden broom-flower burns
All about the waste,
And the maiden May returns
With a pretty haste, -
Then, how merry are the times!
The Spring times! the Summer times!

Now, from off the ashy stone
The chilly midnight cricket crieth,
And all merry birds are flown,
And our dream of pleasure dieth;
Now the once blue, laughing sky
Saddens into gray,
And the frozen rivers sigh,
Pining all away!
Now, how solemn are the times!
The Winter times! the Night times!

Yet, be merry; all around
Is through one vast change revolving;
Even Night, who lately frowned,
Is in paler dawn dissolving;
Earth will burst her fetters strange,
And in Spring grow free;
All things in the world will change,
Save - my love for thee!
Sing then, hopeful are all times!
Winter, Spring, Summer times!

Bryan Waller Procter

This past weekend I was watching television when a 'Back to School' commercial came on, and I immediately thought, "My goodness, is it that time already? Where has the summer gone?"  My co-workers daughter will be heading up to her college at the Canadian border in a little over three weeks from now, and Labor Day is right around the corner.  Not that this has been a great summer for me. The unbearable heat and humidity have made me feel miserable, and I've had to bypass some of the things that I had planned on before the summer began.  I realize now that my intolerance to heat and the soaking sweats are a part of my thyroid disorder, but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with the discomfort.

Tomorrow we celebrate Lammas Day, an Anglo-Saxon word that means "Loaf Mass".  Doesn't it seem like just yesterday that we were planting the seeds in the ground? This day was originally celebrated by the ancient Druid priests as the festival of Lughnasadh in honor of the Celtic sun god, Lugh. Lammas is a tradition which comes to us from our Celtic ancestors who celebrated the harvesting of grain and the first loaf of bread made from the new harvest. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is always celebrated on August 1st. 

This is a time to pause and think about the blessings we receive, the Celtic Thanksgiving. One way to celebrate is to have a feast which begins and ends with gratitude and blessings for the food and wine. I like to celebrate with fresh produce and although I have to work and cannot bake any bread, (not that I would anyway; it is far too hot.  I will be having some Healthy Harvest spaghetti and a homemade meat sauce I made from peppers, onions, garlic, and tomatoes on the vine. I've lots of fruit for dessert. Some fresh grapes will taste mighty good.

Manhattan is a city of districts...garment district, diamond exchange, etc...and I am blessed to work near the flower district.  In fact, I pass right through one of those blocks as I make my way to and from the subway.  Friday as I was walking to the train I notice a display of sunflowers, and I plan to stop on the way home today to purchase some. A vase of freshly cut sunflowers on the table is a marvelous decoration for Lammas.

Earth colors such as golds, yellows, browns, and orange are used to symbolize this time of the year, and I usually light a gold and yellow candles. This year I found a wonderfully scented orange candle with that fills the room with the scent pumpkin and spice...and it hasn't even been lit yet. 

Lammas is special to me, for although the summer's heat and humidity are usually at their height, we know that relief is on its way.


  1. I love Lammas. Like you, I look forward to Autumn as I am not a fan of the heat. I'm also a bread maker so this is a special holiday for me. I like to leave offerings of bread out in the garden at this time. This Lammas I will make corn bread because I am short on time.

    It's also the first harvest, which always makes me think of abundance and gratefulness.

    Don't you just love sunflowers? It is the perfect flower for this special day. Note to self: look for some at the market!

  2. those sunflowers sound beautiful.. I am finding it difficult thinking early spring when we still have freezing nights and cold, cold frosts.. but that is the way of the world.. the wheel turns xo

  3. I love sunflowers Mary.
    I bought some last week when I went shopping.

    I love the fall colours burnt oranges and vivid
    brown and gold.

    Did you see that full moon last night?
    Saw her on the way to work.


    Happy Lammas to you and your family.

    love and light Sharon

  4. Blessings of the Sun and of the First Harvest to you, Mary!

  5. Sunflowers! Perfect summer sight.

  6. Thank you for reminding me. I seem to be forgetting the ways to pay attention to the Wheel Of The Year turning.

    Do you have that camera? Some pics of the flowers, which you walk by, would be nice.

    BUT! I have had THIS thought!!! You live in a big city and have to be 'street smart'. Perhaps snapping pics on a NYC street, is not a good idea. Some unbalanced person might think the pics were being taken of them... And become... More unbalanced.

    So I should stop with the pressing you for pics here.

    "...but for my own part,
    if a book is well written,
    I always find it too short."

    ~Jane Austen

  7. Good morning Mary.....ahhhh fall is in the air for you. I, too, love this season...when summer and the heat is on the wane and you can just feel that fall is right around the corner. How lucky you are to pass the "flower district" on your home....I would be in heaven.....LOL LOL....and sunflowers are such a wonderful flower. Sounds as though you are feeling a little better....I'm glad for that. Happy lammas to you

  8. Blessings of the Harvest upon you and yours Mary...Happy Lammas/Lughnasad to You! :)

    I too love sunflowers. They hold spiritual significance for me.

    I'll be thinking of you this evening/tomorrow evening as I light my candles in honor of our first harvest. I too will make corn bread to share with the Earth Mother and her wild inhabitants.
    *A blessing on food and fed,
    Earth and Sun. All are one.
    A blessing on your power.
    Bless fire and food and maker
    Bless seed and plant and baker.
    Nourish us deeply,
    Change us completely,
    Teach us to nourish each other.
    (Cait Johnson in 'Witch in the Kitchen')

    Love You Dear Sister! :)

  9. You sound ready for blessings of abundance despite your health issues, which is wonderful. I need to honor Lammas somehow. Even though I live alone and don't have anyone share it with, I can still buy some beautiful flowers and buy some bread.

  10. August 1, eh? must be why I had the urge to cut some flowers for the house...Thanks for the reminder...