The Ever-Recurring Year


I was talking with a friend today and she mentioned my picture a while back of my canning pantry. She said she certainly understands the feeling of growing, harvesting, putting up and getting the firewood ready from her reading of the Little House on the Prairie books – which I admitted I have never read (all gasp), as it’s not quite part of the European schoolgirl’s library, and as I simply never felt the need to read it after my school years. She told me that especially the ritual of putting up always gave her a sense of security, and how had she lost that feeling?

I said when you live according to the seasons, you live according to the ever recurring year, with its waxings and wanings, its rituals of life and work, its periods of plenty and of less, and its ample pockets of security in rough times… A life, in short, that can count on certain comforts even if they’re not present, because the recurring rituals hold them in place in the future. This gives you a sense of security without however lulling you into a false sense of security. Because it is a whole year, it doesn’t get boring, and the periods and transitions within it cannot be taken for granted.

This unlike “modern life”, which lives not the recurring year, but the recurring day, over and over again the same day, with (as per usual at least) not a one big shift, whether gift or sacrifice, to make us feel alive and the passage of time.

This friend understands what I’m trying to do here, and I appreciate our conversations, however interrupted by kids and “modern life”, more than she knows. I hardly ever write about the emotional side of our endeavors and dreams on this blog, I don’t know why. Perhaps I fear of the dreaded “No Comments” under the entry headings. But most of the time, it is simple exhausting to try to get the maelstrom of emotions to stay still on paper/screen, in neat sentences let alone paragraphs. Easier to let it all come pouring out as a warbled stream of consciousness into the ear of a dear friend. And, later in the evening, to salvage a few choice thoughts.

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  1. with every season we enjoy renewed excitement for life. i lived many years oblivious to the seasons. now it is what keeps me close to the earth and her subtle ways.

  2. DH was helping with prepping tomatoes and making sauce for the last of the sauce this year. He commented how great it felt to know that we were bottling summer together, so we could enjoy it in the winter.

  3. Interesting post. I have to admit that I had never even heard of the Little House series while I was growing up. It wasn’t until I had kids of my own that I found them in the homeschooling catalogues.

    I think their appeal is that they portray exactly the kind of lifestyle you describe working toward in your blog; the kind of lifestyle many of us are drawn too: living in close relationship to the natural ebb and flow of the seasons and the land.

    Here’s my shocker (you can gasp at this one too), the Little House books are still a favorite of DH’s and mine and he still reads them aloud to me in the evenings while I knit or do other handwork. And our kids are grown up and on their own now! We enjoy them just the two of us.

    Conveying the emotions of such an endeavor is tough, I really understand what you are saying about that. Laura Ingalls Wilder did a good job on that one though; again the universal appeal. I’m not quite the writer she is though. Fortunately, there’s plenty of room for individual style!

  4. Thank you all for scaring the dreaded “No Comments” away!

    I will have to get the Little House books now. And to Leigh’s “there’s plenty of room for individual style!”: so true, here on the internet. Isn’t blogging great!

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