Here is a quick overview of the astronomy of earth ~
The seasons are created as the earth moves around the sun on its axis. During the 365 days that make up the year the poles tilt toward and away from the sun in space. From the earth, it appears that the sun is moving north and south across the sky as the months pass. Summer is when the sun is most northward, and very high, in the sky. As it transits east to west during the time from the summer solstice to the autumn equinox the days are long, warm and life affirming. Winter is when the sun is most southern and very close to the horizon in its daily transits from the winter solstice to the vernal equinox. Shorter, cooler days encourage hibernation. Spring and fall are the time from equinox to solstice when the sun is most central to its annual range. We have the seasons of transition during these times of year.
Sometimes in life, we have calendars that help us know when these times of year are passing. If we slow down, spend more time outdoors, and especially pay attention to what we are eating by choosing to eat seasonally, we can know in our bodies that the seasons are changing.
Living seasonally: What is a felt sense of the seasons?
It feels like the exuberance in April when your retina is hit with sharp bright sunshine for the first time in months. Or, like the irresistible impulse to hide from that same life-giving sun with a thick novel in the dwindling daylight hours of September. How about the urge to bake in October and November? Or, the urge to give and socialize in December. Honestly, I think cultivating a felt sense of seasons opens one up to being a childlike, sensitive and aware and innocent. The calendar does not create these seasonal impulses, nor does the Hallmark card. The calendar and the marketing campaigns are responding to the natural seasonal impulses inside each of us.
You may think your modern life has erased your visceral connection to the earth. But it has only masked it, put it in hibernation.
Why do I say that our food choices are a special way to be in tune with the seasons as they pass? Food, grown locally and with naturally cultivated ingredients, comes in rhythms and patterns associated with the seasons. Experiencing these flavors and textures can swiftly shock you out of the mental hibernation caused by the speed of modern life. At some level, we all know this: pumpkins are the flavor and color of Thanksgiving, watermelons define the 4th of July picnic. Each month of the year has a menu of flavors, colors, and textures that bring us alive to the moment we are in through sensual experience.
When you buy your produce locally from a farmer you know, or you grow it yourself, you begin to know even more about how food reflects the seasons. You offer yourself the continued experience of seasonality through food, through taste, through your senses. There are veggies that love the cold and will grow all winter long, like spinach and kale. Other produce has a limited season, like strawberries in June. Each is special and fits into our lives like grooves on a record. Each season has its flavors and those flavors are its rhythm. Those flavors are a kind of sensual soundtrack to the seasons as they color our lives month by month, day by day.
Cultivating consciousness through sensual living is what we’re all about.
It is important to cultivate a conscious life. It is how we express ourselves as humans and have authentic relationships with the each other and the natural environment. We can sidestep many of the ecological arguments of the day by simply choosing to prepare our meals with food grown by people we know, or that we have grown ourselves, and by recognizing the way the seasons move across our plates. These relationships,
These relationships, people-to-people and people-to-food, offer each of us the chance to experience nature personally and sensually. This helps us understand some of the most important challenges of our time through intimate, personal experience. For instance, a hot and dry summer can limit the amount of fresh and local salad greens in your community’s food shed. A warm winter can limit the amount of tree sap available for syrups. The change in weather and climate becomes personal as you effort to make meals with what is seasonally available.
Protests and marches have their place in calling for a much-needed change in the way society conducts itself. But, here at Stony Ridge Farm, we seek to create change one meal at a time. So, follow along. Grow, harvest, cook and preserve with us. It’s a more pleasurable way to cultivate community and change the world. Living seasonally, one season at a time.
More from the blog…
Here’s the January seasonal eating food list. It’s a nice post full of cooking suggestions and meal plans for one of the hardest times of year to keep a seasonal kitchen. Sign up for our newsletter to keep up with these seasonal eating posts month-by-month.