Sunday, September 29, 2013


Pinterest scores again: fallen leaves sewn together to make Michaelmas crowns
We celebrated our first Michaelmas this year. Today was the feast of Michael the Archangel, a feast day that, as a pair of bred-in-the-bone Presbyterians, neither Jon nor I had ever celebrated before or even really heard of before we embarked on the Waldorf journey. Last year we almost entirely neglected all the seasonal festivals that are such a key component of the Waldorf year. This year, though, I feel a little more solid on my feet with a better understanding not only of what the festivals are, but what they mean and why marking them is important. Also, I'm just more organized (finally).
gathering leaves
running away from Mommy: thank heavens for dead-end streets!
The feast of Michael the Archangel occurs one week past the equinox, one week past the tipping point of the year, from the day of perfect balance to the slow slip into darkness. The tales told for Michaelmas all incorporate the theme of good overcoming evil, of light overcoming darkness. The traditional story of St. George and the Dragon is a little more intense than is necessary for our girls at their ages, so we opted instead to tell the story of The Star Children. They've quite enjoyed the story, learning it immediately. 
gathering leaves in her new Urban Sprout corduroy tulip skirt
strolling through the leaves
Today was the feast day itself, and we made a loaf of gluten free dragon bread to have as part of our feast. The girls helped with decorating him with seeds and raisins for scales and eyes and did so enjoy devouring the dragon during our meal. While he was cooling and the rest of our feast was cooking we gathered leaves and made golden - more or less - crowns for the girls to wear during our Michaelmas feast. 
our gluten-free dragon, ready for the oven
leaf crowns
We told the story of The Star Children again at the end of dinner, the girls wearing their golden Michaelmas crowns, both of them pretending to fight with our partially-eaten dragon loaf, and recited some Michaelmas verses throughout the meal.
Golden crowns of leaves...possibly a little on the small side
golden crowns
Our dragon loaf
It's a slightly odd thing, beginning a tradition. It can feel a little forced or even hokey in its genesis, but it is lovely, also, to see how we have begun something that will continue in years to come, something that will grow and develop new meaning for us all as the girls age and mature.

Brave and true
Will I be
Each good deed
Sets me free
Each kind word
Makes me strong
I will fight
For the right
I will conquer the wrong

Michaelmas is over

autumn's promise

And suddenly autumn is here.

While mid-day is still hot, the sun still shining brightly down, early mornings, evenings and nights are cool. The duvets are on the beds, housecoats are once again in morning rotation, and socks are increasingly warranted.
walking the rails
It is a subtle shifting, a promise that the dog-days of summer will come to an end, a gentle warning that winter is coming and that it is time to make ready. Soak up the warmth and sun while you can, the aging summer tells us: colder, darker days are on their way.
into the corn field

ready for harvest
We heed its call. We revel in the last days of summer, while also looking ahead to the coolness of autumn and making plans. Apple picking, perhaps? Autumn cleaning (let's scrub those windows while it is warm enough to have them open!), sewing up warmer clothes to ensure our cool weather wardrobes are ready. Redecorating in autumn leaves and autumn colours.
Enter the corn

Scarlet walks with Daddy and Gran
Letting go of summer and its joys makes room for embracing the vibrancy of autumn. After months of bright sunlight and green on green, autumn in eastern Ontario is a glory of colours. While summer's colour is near the earth on flowering bushes and plants in gardens, autumn paints the canopy with an array of shades, a last burst of brilliance before the gathering dark approaching the solstice: something glorious to remember as we enter the dark months of the year.
damsel fly in the corn maze

As each season ages, I begin to look forward to the season's change, not only for the novelty but for the reminder of rhythm, the new breath that it represents. The final days of summer a great, desperate exhalation; the first days of autumn an awed gasp of inhalation.

sunny girl

Cumberland Museum train tracks


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