Erratic seasons, they can turn around and bite you just when you thought you could breathe a sigh of relief at the unfurling of leaves, buds, and your pain.
A growth spurt is followed by a blasting storm and promise is killed on the twig, dashed from the branch or torn from the bud.
Not linear, not even circular, but spiralling, twisting and turning is this season where spring struggles to let go of its adolescent grip on the mothering summer. But according to the law of nature: the next season always wins.
You will know this if you are in the northern hemisphere as well, where autumn’s seductive powers cannot waylay winter for long.
I’ve been waiting for the moment when this frisky, erratic spring finally surrenders into the loving arms of summer.
And it’s happening (yes, despite the cold & wet)
Trees, heaving a sigh of relief at no longer having to work so hard pumping sap up from their roots, have now exuded leafy canopies that spread wide. The air is becoming more still. Sunny days linger a little longer. Birds fly to a water trough to drink: finches, tui, a rosella and a pipiwharauroa.
The crater of my favourite small volcanic cone is awash with buttercups, a yellow sea moving in a gentle breeze.
The November trumpets of amaryllis, that this year bloomed three weeks early, are drooping and finished.
My friendly maple tree spreads a generous carpet of shade.
Students flop, their exams finished for the year.
And then comes Christmas
Do you dread the pressure of Christmas and the wind up of stress that precedes it?
How can you manage the pressure?
Do you have any scope for downplaying Christmas and giving some attention to summer solstice instead? (Some people even shift Christmas to June, winter solstice, the season where it originated.)
After all, even though the calendar year is speeding up, nature is actually slowing down and opening into a relaxed season.
You can choose whether to go with acceleration or slowing. The advantage of tuning into nature is that you can find encouragement in discovering a more relaxed pathway into summer.
I’ve found it helpful to start preparing early. For many years my family held Christmas at winter solstice in June, but when the grandchildren arrived this became more difficult. Even so, the family has agreed to keep presents and food simple and minimal.
I start gathering some gifts in November, because I finish my working year in mid December . That’s when I escape to the bach for some peace and quiet before Christmas.
My son and the two younger children often join me out there at this time, and we create a summer solstice ritual together. They go back to town just before Christmas and I join the whole family on Christmas day, travelling in the quiet of the morning.
I love preparing for summer solstice in the slow rhythm of the west coast. As part of my preparation I make a mandala out of natural materials. It usually takes up to two weeks as I sift and sort, refine and refocus, and eventually create the right image.
The right image may look simple, but it carries the fruit of much contemplation. My hope is that when you look at it, you will feel grounded and centred, that it will bring you into connection with yourself and even become a focus for meditation.
Blessings and peace,
While I enjoy the friendship of the seasons I trust that nothing
can make life a burden to me.
—Henry David Thoreau
Summer Mandala card sets
I have put together the best of my summer mandalas from previous years, plus the new one for 2018, and packaged them in identical sets of 4 cards.
For NZ orders: $20 plus $1.20 p&p for up to two sets, and $3 for 3 sets (Postage is free if you are ordering a book)
To order, contact me by email or through the contact form on this website, including your address & I’ll send you my bank details for a direct credit.