Friday, 1 August 2008

Lammas

Today is August 1st -- Lammas, or Lughnasa/Lughnasadh in many traditions.

For me, Lammas has for many years been the First Harvest, the first of three harvest holidays or harvest "spokes" on the Wheel of the Year, and the Day of the Reaper.

In the Mid-Atlantic, where I've lived most of my life, it's easy to see Lammas this way -- both as the harvest of the first fruits, and also as the day of the reaper. August is hot and the weather is chancy. Many of the first things that come to ripeness are abundant: corn, peppers, tomatoes, basil, blackberries, blueberries, cucumbers, string beans. (I'm thinking of farm stands by the side of the road in South Jersey.) Now I'm in the Mid-West, and at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, we've also been seeing gooseberries, which are legal here now, cherries, even peaches, and -- amazingly -- some early apples.

But there is so much that is not quite ready yet, a harvest that could easily be lost by too much or too little rain, pests, tornadoes, flood, drought...

I'm remembering Lammases in Roses, Too! Coven, when we would tear bites off Sun-round cornbread, so it would get smaller in the same way the Sun does, while we asked ourselves and each other about this harvest and our hopes for the next harvests. I'm remembering a potluck -- before we learned to make sure we "seeded" potlucks with protein and chocolate -- where all folks brought were fresh fruits and vegetables. (They were luscious, but...)

I'm remembering a Lammas potluck in 1993, thrown by the women who lived in a house called Iniquity (not to be confused with the house called Sin), where what was to become Roses, Too! first came into being.

I ask you:
  • What's happening around you in nature?
  • What have you harvested so far this year?
  • What do you hope to harvest yet this year?

May you have a blessed Lammas. (And if you're from a tradition that does this, enjoy tearing apart your bread man!)

2 comments:

Nif said...

Since committing to localvorism my perceptions have shifted. I no longer see this time of year through the lens of "the first harvest." This is certainly the time of fruit in abundance: peaches, melons, tomatoes, cukes, corn, peppers, and squash squash squash. But in spring there was the leaf and shoot harvest, when we gorged on salad and ate asparagus at least twice a week. Next there was the harvest of small fruits: the last of the strawberries, then cherries, raspberries and blueberries. And all last winter roots and cold-loving greens sustained us: carrots at their sweetest, onions, potatoes, more sweet potatoes and sunchokes than we needed, cabbage, kale, and spinach. I'm growing more connected to the local year, with its numerous small harvests and milestones to look forward to. I feel very lucky to be living here in SE PA, where local food is so very abundant.

staśa said...

I feel so lucky that we were able to get good local food in MI, and that we're able to here as well. Although we're a little concerned about the prices in the Farmers Markets here -- I want to find out more about that.

Lammas to me still feels like a good time to pause and take stock of the harvest so far, and the harvest yet to come.