The Beginning of Summer’s End

77  bar rises 29.83 3mpn NNW dew-point 61  sunrise 5:58  sunset 8:39  Lughnasa

New (Corn) Moon

As I note in the Lughnasa entry now posted on the Great Wheel page, we have come to the beginning of summer’s end.  The Celtic word for summer’s end is Samhain, also the name for the last of the harvest festivals celebrated on October 31st.  August 1st finds those of us with gardens and farms involved in some manner or another with our early harvests.  The first tomatoes, the garlic already in here, beans, beets, carrots and onions.  This is a time of thanksgiving, a day of gratefulness for the earth and for the plant life which offers itself to us and to our fellow creatures so that we might live.

A dish of green beans, onions in a salad perhaps garnished with tomatoes, garlic used to flavor a sautee all remind us that food does not emerge from the ether, rather it grows with care and attention, care and attention meted out over a growing season, not all at once.  It is not a matter of a moment to grow food.  Vegetables only reward those willing to practice attentiveness, to stay in the now.  The plant needs what it needs today, not tomorrow.  The pests that infest today will become worse tomorrow.  Act now.

Today is an all Heresy Moves West day.   The story of Unitarians and Universalist as they follow the frontier, especially the pioneers from New England, makes an American saga.  America’s exceptionalism often takes the form of manifest destiny, our version of Kipling’s White Man’s Burden, but a truer idiosyncrasy of this country lies in our embrace of religious freedom.  We take it for granted, imagine that if it’s not the case in another place, they just haven’t gotten around to it yet, but in fact we are very much the outlier when it comes to the firewall between the state and religious institutions/faith traditions.

That a peculiar brand of new thought that changed the flow of a millennia old faith tradition–the Judaeo-Christian–could not only flourish but spread as the country grew, that the new thought itself would become fractious and splinter along unpredictable lines, and that it would find its most radical expression in the Midwest rather than its place of origin in Boston and surrounds could only happen here.   The chance to tell this story makes me glad, for it is a story of vision, of unfettered thought, of reaching beyond the boundaries of the mind, a story that transcends its makers by breaking open new sources of authority for those searching for a place in this vast universe of ours.