To Everything a Season, and Trying to Be Ready for Anything

We’re two weeks from Back to School, and I’m reminded once again that my life—even twenty years after my own last day of school—runs by the seasons of semesters. Back to school means autumn: shorter days of sunlight but longer days of solitude. This year, in particular, I’m curious how short or long the days will feel, when I’m Home Alone for the first time since March 13, 2020.

As I try to think ahead about what this new season will bring, I also know that no plan is guaranteed. The past 18 months have taught us plenty; flexibility and non-attachment are right at the top of the list. Even as I plan, brainstorm, daydream about the coming school year, I’m holding on loosely.

A season’s promises.

The windowsill full of tomatoes in my kitchen is a sign. (A sign that my spouse and children are ridiculous for not eating fresh tomatoes, for one thing!) They’re lovely to look at, but the only way they’ll do us any good is if I take the time and put in the effort to turn them into jars-full for our future tomato-based needs. If I do my job, this fall they’ll become pots of chili and simmering pasta sauces. They’re a sign that the work I do now will pay off in the months ahead. That nothing need be a waste.

Future Me will thank Past Me for the mess and effort of dealing with these. This works for other stuff too: last week I spent a ridiculous amount of time reorganizing notebooks, throwing away notes I never refer to, exploring online workout subscription options, sorting yarn and project plans. Fussy work, time-consuming and not fun or even particularly rewarding. But effort that will set me up for a clear, sensible reentry into the new season.

If you’re like me with tomato-y abundance, I highly recommend this recipe for Tomato Pie from the Southern Living cookbook Off the Eaten Path. I learned about tomato pie when we lived in Beaufort, SC, and this recipe is from a small-town restaurant in South Carolina. And no, nobody else in my family will eat it—which just means I don’t have to share!

For the immediate future, I also made jars of this quick-pickle recipe with some of our other CSA overflow. I’m actively trying to eat more veggies, and they still count if they’re pickled! (Right?)

A season of promise.

The other change of season I’m anticipating is the shift into another Advent. The church season of Advent begins at the end of November, but liturgical weaving reminds me of my old journalism days! We wrote Christmas magazine issues in early summer, and I weave Advent stoles deep in Ordinary Time. Before I could start weaving purple stoles, though, I needed assemble the last couple of green ones. This weekend I sewed them up, twisted their fringes, and took their “glamour shots” for shop listings.

For the next several months my loom will stay full with lavenders, eggplants, and plums… of the yarn variety.

No promises.

Cans of veggies and swaths of purple cloth don’t come with any guarantees. Neither do new school supplies, or well-intentioned daily routines. But these small actions are indicators: I’m ready for change, however it comes. Next week I’ll share some of my deeper plans for this fall, and my hopes for moving forward from here.

At the very least, the way should be accompanied by tasty munchies and cozy color. That works for me.

🙏🏻

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