Living in Season from Waverly Fitzgerald


Living in Season
The official newsletter of School of the Seasons

August 31, 2006
Plant of the Day: Walnut

Contents

Welcome
My Season: Going Gently into the Good Night
Seasonal Quote
Two Calendars: September and September Flowers
Living in Season: Vacation Plans
Holiday Packets: Harvest
Autumn Correspondence Course
Calendar Companion: Leaves from the Tree of Time
Signs of Autumn
Copyright
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Welcome

Welcome to my semi-monthly newsletter featuring ideas for bringing the beauty of the current season into your life. We've finally updated the newsletter format so we can provide a much prettier version.

Please forward this newsletter if you enjoy it. If a friend sent you this newsletter, welcome! You can subscribe for free at my website:
www.schooloftheseasons.com

We never rent, sell or give away subscriber information.

My Season: Going Gently into the Good Night

It's been a while since I sent out a newsletter. I find that most of my energy these days is going into my blog Living in Season and my explorations of a plant a day, through recipes, craft projects, gardening and simple observations. I've been delighted to find that most of the plants in the French Republican calendar can be found in my neighborhood and my walks to work are so much more lively as I'm always greeting, fondling and sniffing the plants along the way.

If you read my last newsletter, you know that my companion of many walks, Chester the Dog, died on Midsummer's Night's Eve. And although I still miss him, I notice that my feeling have shifted subtly. Right after he died, I would look at other people with dogs and feel such envy, like a stab in the heart, that it was physically painful. Then I went through a period of asking everyone I met who was walking a dog if I could pet their dogs, sometimes explaining that I needed some dog energy in my life. Now I'm more at the looking-around stage. Let's see, would I like a dog like that? Or a dog like that?

On the other side of the grief, is a sense of freedom. It's happening simultaneously with new possibilities in other areas of my life: my daughter moving out, and a bit more disposable income thanks to my day job. I'm realizing that in the past I've used limitations to make my decisions for me. It was easy to say, 'No, I can't afford that,' or 'No, I can't be away from home that long.' Now, faced with many more options, I've often paralyzed by choices. I'm trying to sit with this new expansiveness and figure out what feels comfortable to me.

May the cycles of the year carry you gently forward,
Waverly Fitzgerald

Seasonal Quote

Life is the flower for which love is the honey.
Victor Hugo

Two Calendars and One Flower

The September calendar of holidays is updated and can be viewed at my web site here.

I've also added a new feature, related to my Living in Season blog: a calendar featuring the plant for each day of the month, which can be viewed here.

I invite you to join me in celebrating these flowers on their days and posting your comments at my blog, Living in Season.

I haven't yet written my entry for the flower of the month, the chrysanthemum, but it should be up and posted by September 11th. Check back then.

Living in Season: Vacation Plans

One of the benefits of my new day job is a paid vacation. What a luxury for someone who's been self-employed most of her working life (and most of the rest of the time, I was working either as a temp or part-time and didn't have benefits.) The problem is that I don't know what to do with a vacation.

Apparently I am not alone in this. When I logged on to my AOL account a few weeks ago, the feature story was on the lack of vacation time in America. I suspect this news item is partly a result of the good work done by the Take Back Your Time folks who have been talking about this issue for years. Their August newsletter features a number of articles on vacation time and startling statistics, like the fact that one in four workers plans to work while on vacation (www.careerbuilder.com) and American workers are expected to give back 574 million vacation days this year (from Expedia.com's annual vacation deprivation survey).

Joe Robinson, who's on the Board of Take Back Your Time, provides more information on the importance of vacation time at his web site, Work to Live. His research shows that it takes two weeks to fully unwind and achieve the health benefits of vacation time, yet the average American gets 8.1 days of vacation after a year on the job, while the average European gets 4 to 6 weeks. In Europe, 20 workdays of paid vacation are required under the European Working Time Directive.

The attitude towards work is just not so serious in European countries. Laura, an artist and art teacher who took one of my online Slow Time classes, didn't realize that she was a typical American workaholic until she moved to Warsaw, Poland. She found that people worked at a totally different pace and that family always came before work. It seemed like every other weekend was a holiday and "in the summer time, Warsaw clears out. Everyone takes off and offices just sort of shut down and the work does not get done until that person gets back."

This American overemphasis on working shows up in other work-related statistics besides vacation time. The average American family now works FOUR MONTHS more in total hours than in 1979. And 26% of Americans don't take any vacation at all.

I've always wanted to do something along the lines of the vacation plans of a German medical assistant interviewed by Joe Robinson in his book, Work To Live. He takes his "big holiday" of three weeks at the end of the year when the weather in Germany is cold and gray, so he usually goes to someplace like Bali or Costa Rica. At Easter, he meets a group of friends in Tuscany or Greece, where they rent a house for a week, cook meals together and just relax. Every September, he and his friends visit a different capital city in Europe (Prague one year, London another) for a five-day adventure. Doesn't that sound like fun?

I haven't yet figured out what I'm going to do with my precious vacation but now that I realize how valuable it is, you can be sure that I will take it all at one time, instead of parceling it out in three day weekends, the typical vacation strategy of most Americans. Have you taken your vacation this year?

Holiday Packet: Harvest

The Harvest holiday packet contains over 50 pages of ideas on how to celebrate the Autumn Equinox, including the:

  • Ancient celebrations of Harvest and Michealmas
  • The meaning of the Harvest Moon
  • The September Full Moon holidays of Mid-Autumn Moon and Sukkoth
  • Transformation mysteries of beer and wine
  • Recipes for gingerbread, ginger beer and other traditional Harvest foods
  • Instructions for creating wheat weavings, a corn dolly and a basket to honor Demeter
  • And much more.

Download sample pages from the Harvest packet here (PDF format).

The packet is available in two versions: sent email as a Word attachment for $9 or as printed pages sent via regular mail in a portfolio for $14. You can order a packet by clicking here.

Autumn Correspondence Course

Last year, for the first time I offered an online version of the Autumn correspondence course. It was a great success. I revised the autumn materials (which hadn't been updated for ten years) and was inspired by the feedback of my students. This year I'm re-formatting the Autumn materials so they can be sent via email as illustrated Word documents. The various topics will be delivered one week at a time starting this week and continuing through October 19. $66. Click here to order.

Autumn Course Print Version

You can also still order the unrevised print version of the Autumn course here.

Calendar Companion: Leaves from the Tree of Time

This is a graceful way to incorporate spirit and seasons into your life. Use it along with your usual planning tools and calendar to help you:

  • Slow time down
  • Consult your soul while creating your schedule
  • Make time for what's truly important in your life
  • Move in rhythm with the seasons and the moon

Every week for 52 weeks you will receive a brief email with a reflection on the qualities of the present time period and one suggestion, task or question that you can savor throughout the week.

Start whenever you like. When you order the Calendar Companion, you will receive the next week's calendar companion, along with an introductory email.

$20 for a year's worth of gentle reminders to help you stay aligned with natural rhythms. To order or to see a sample reflection, go to our Store.

Signs of Autumn

It definitely feels like autumn here in Seattle. Leaves are falling, berries are ripe, the grain is golden, and seed heads are forming.

Where ever you live, send me your signs of the season and we will post them at the website at Signs of the Season.

Copyright

Copyright © Waverly Fitzgerald 2006
All rights reserved. You may reprint material from
Living in Season in other electronic or print publications as
long as you credit me and provide a link to:
http://www.schooloftheseasons.com
Please send me a copy of the publication.

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