Right now so many people are leaving San Francisco in search of the “Real Summer.” For the day or a week, people want sun, heat, water play that doesn’t give you frostbite, beaches where you won’t need wooly hats. Ok, I get it. But it’s not for me.
This summer I am embracing San Francisco, our beloved California coast. I’m trying to feel present where I am and embrace what I’ve got. It makes family life run smoothly, and plus, when you’re putting every penny you’ve got into the cost of living in SF, why try to spend more to leave? Not happening for us.
Also remember my motto, tantrum-free summer? Yeah, even long car rides are out this year.
So, to reconnect with the loving Pachamama right here, I’ve had help from Lisa Boisvert Mackenzie’s terrific courses. Planning your year with the rhythm of the seasons. Just what I needed.
Here is my resulting map of the year. The changes in nature around us each season affect our feelings and mood. So for each part of the year I have noted the mood that I experience as I orchestrate our family life. Then I’ve come up with some basic themes and nature imagery that will infuse our days.
In case you can’t read my Spanglish.
Spring — growth, energy, new ideas
Summer — slow, steady, upwelling
Autumn — transformation, looking ahead, starting anew
Winter — inner world, steady and slow
I feel change and transitions during spring and autumn, while in summer and winter I want to get into a rhythm and stay steady. Summer and winter are more difficult emotionally — both can lack sun for us, fog in summer and rain in winter, both gray skies and darkness. The transformational feeling of spring and autumn are what carries me into a rhythm that gets me through summer and winter.
In thinking more about the mediterranean summer here on the California coast, the upwelling is what calls to me the most. The cold ocean currents bringing nutrients to the surface, bringing us the fog. The phrase “deep stirring” can describe winter, but that really resonates for me during our summer. I see it in my daughter, too, like she is storing up energy deep within to have a period of intense growth when autumn comes and school starts again.
Our summer is dry, drought, dead-looking golden hills. Then in fall the fire season wakes us up again followed by the winter rains when everything comes back to life, green again.
A first draft, but so far, a nature theme and a festival have come up for each season. I am Jewish and my husband is Latino, so these are some of the festivals that are important to us.
Spring — earth, gardening, Passover
Summer — ocean, more gardening
Autumn — fire, candles, Rosh Hashanah
Winter — forest, rain, Christmas, Carnaval
I am still contemplating how will the meaning or mood of each season will emerge . . . through songs, stories, painting, dancing, that express the mood and the nature imagery. Our weekly nature outings will focus on the theme — community gardens in spring, beach in summer, redwood forest in winter.
My goal will be a new rhyme or song and a new meal for each season. My new songs and rhymes in Spanish come from Tamara Chubarovsky.
For summer, I’ve started telling an upwelling story. We act out all the animals with our fingers. A little crab who is resting on the cold ocean floor, gathering his strength, breathing, thinking and resting. His friends come (el delfin, el pez, el caballito del mar, y el camarón) to tell him how great the surface is with all its party, sun and blue skies. He tells each of them he’s not ready to go yet. He waits and prepares until the big current, la surgencia, comes to carry him up. He sees his friends and is so happy to see them at the big beach party. But, according to my daughter, after saludos and a little dancing, he goes to hide in the sand again.
We love hiding out in our SF summer.
* * *
Update here in January 2015 . . . As we’ve worked through Summer, Fall, and Winter (here is more that I’ve written about them) I’ve added more detail to the sketch of the year (but it’s still in pencil!). Here it is now.