Change is afoot. Cooler mornings, longer nights, louder cicadas, and geese in the sky. I’ve loved late August since childhood when ripe blackberries, crisp early apples and a new school year all happened at once. The ancient Celts also recognized the special gifts of this time and celebrated August as the season of Lammas, the early harvest, and it is indeed a richly mixed-up time.
August reminds me of the “yes—and” dynamic in the cycle of life. The yes of a ripening garden and the work of picking, preparing and preserving the crops. The yes of a summer intern’s enthusiasm and growing expertise and her impending graduation with its demand for finding a real job and starting a career. The yes of my friend’s wonderful recovery from a heart attack and the unwelcome news of his new cancer diagnosis. The yes of having a coherent conversation with my 90 year old mother and the sadness that today she cannot remember her grandchildren’s names. You get the idea. Promise, fulfillment and decline are all present in every joy, every day, every life, and every August captures the entire scenario. So how do we accommodate to the changes around us? Changes in climate, in politics, in our finances, our levels of energy and in our closest relationships?
We can start by being aware of what is common to us all, is unchanging and yet ever-changing: Our breath—the air we take out of and give back to the world. Our creativity—always re-fashioning what surrounds us into something new. Our ability to heal—both our own wounds and the wounds of those whose lives we touch. Our hopes and desires—for joy, for justice, for refreshment and for peace at life’s end. Our power—to stay present in the face of fear and confusion, and to use what we have and who we are for good.
All these gifts, all these sorrows and possibilities and struggles are captured and framed by the month of August. Change is always afoot. So I invite you to take a deep breath, choose a ripe peach and eat it. Let the juice run down your chin. Raise your face and smile. Yes—and. Happy Lammas.
Eileen Terry is a member of Celtic Way's Board of Directors. Read more about her here.