For weeks, beautiful blue flowers dominated the park opposite our house. But now that I finally get around to taking a picture, most of them have already finished flowering. Large teasel plants are starting to take their place.
Sometimes I feel like I should be flowering all the time. Like I should be enthousiastic about work, happily committed to the eco-village, having fun with my child, all the time.
Looking at the teasel, I realize that’s not the way it works.
When you’re outside, and not inside the rectangle of your laptop or phone screen, almost everything is a circle. The setting sun, the full moon that rose so brilliantly last night. And the seasons, which complete the circle of life every year.
The four seasons can be subdivided, so that you get 8 festivals: the Wheel of the Year. It’s a natural and millennia-old way to organize and give meaning to the year. The church calendar still contains traces of these festivals.
Last month we celebrated the longest day of the year in the eco village. And now we are making plans to celebrate Lammas, the grain harvest festival.
Celebrating the seasons makes me more aware of the circle of life. Every season carries its own ending, and in the middle of summer you can already feel the approach of autumn. There is no need to always be happy; in order to farm, land must occasionally lie fallow. There is a time for everything, says Ecclesiastes. For joy, but also for loss and dying. They are inseparable, as Kahlil Gibran writes in The Prophet:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirits the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.