feast days

August 1 marks Lammas, the first of the three festivals of autumn. Until recently, I lived in central Texas, where the wheel of the year does not fall neatly along seasons, and so time passes strangely, especially to one like me who grew up in a different wilderness entirely. My time there often felt like a blur of heat and color — wildflower season, high summer, or thunderstorms were often the only markers of the turn of the year.

We are settling now into our new home in the Pacific Northwest, where life feels markedly slower, and I can feel that old pull, that seasonal tether.

Lammas signifies the beginning of the harvest, and the shifting down from high summer into low. It’s a good time to stop and look back on the year: what did life look like to you six months ago? A year? What have you been growing and nurturing into life? What has passed away?

This week we visited Mt. Hood (Wy’east), and spent the day hiking and exploring in the forest.

It has taken a long while for us to get out here to the Pacific Northwest, but that work has been rewarded tenfold. It is such a joy to see things I used to take for granted: moss, dark mud, streams. Evergreens. Wild plants whose names I used to know well: hemlock, fir, nettle, goldenrod.

Getting here was circuitous. It was time to leave Texas, to leave behind its heat and the wilderness that is its own, but there was no going back to the wilds where I grew up. That time had passed, too.

Strangely, or maybe not strangely at all, the Pacific has always been a witness for me — I have marked many milestones and important moments on its shores, despite never living permanently in this part of the country.

There is something here that always pulls me back; something that feels like remembering, but can’t be articulated. So, we returned.

Remembering is never solely a conscious experience; knowing lies somewhere beneath, somewhere in the body, in the bones. This is a lesson I keep learning.

If we think of life as a spiral, and if we live long enough, we can begin to see the places where we come back around to meet ourselves.

We’ll never inhabit those places fully again — but we return, and return, each time from a different place, just a little ways out from the last.

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My harvest this year is simply this – place, belonging. Never before has it been so tangible, never so simple. Everywhere I turn I see home, home, home; I feel it.

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