January in California is normally about gathering the rain and snow to build up our water resources for the drier months of summer ahead. There are a wide variety of microclimates that serve in many ways. In my area, a short distance from the waterways of the Delta and the nearby bay, we are a bit inland and hotter than those regions closer to the water.
We get a bit of this and that in terms of weather, but no extremes compared to further east. The nearby bodies of water keep us in a more temperate range throughout the year.
After a fire-filled autumn, we are grateful for the quiet, peacefulness of winter. Regular storms are moving through bringing much needed water and even a sprinkling of snow on our beloved Mt. Diablo nearby.
The lush green of winter surrounds us now. Hallelujah! But, wait, what’s that peeking up in the garden? Is it Miner’s Lettuce already? Are those blooms on the Snowdrops? Is the Oxalis already putting out some bright yellow flowers?
Yes, the new expression of winter is being witnessed. In the 20 years of living on this property, the early spring was indicated by these first signs – not until February though. Now, even in late December and early January, signs of spring are showing up. For some, this is cause for celebration as the cultural value of sunshine and youth is overemphasized. The disconnection from natural cycles is evident in this gross misunderstanding of the value of constant sunshine and warmth.
In California, many have lost an understanding of the benefits of winter. Time to hunker down in stillness. Covered with a layer of insulating snow. Being lulled by the sound of the pattering rain is a valuable time for integration and preparation for what is to come. Warm, slow foods nurture us emotionally as well as providing physical nourishment during these times of year.
Confusion is apparent in observing the plants this year. And has been in similar ways over the last few years. The Calendula is blooming, but also covered with frost on cold mornings. I can feel its uncertainty. Am I sleeping or blooming today?
The Miner’s Lettuce, though making an early appearance, doesn’t seem too comfortable with a covering of frost. It’s usual essence is one of “Welcome to the glory of spring!” Yet, when covered with frost, there is a sense of uncertainty.
The chard and kohlrabi are happy with the cold nights and look joyful even when covered in glistening white. As vegetables that are often grown in the winter, they feel comfortable and downright happy with a bit of cold.
How are you feeling stressed about the seasons these days? Are you concerned with the way life is changing before our very eyes? Do you want to feel comfortable with the cycles of nature again?
The new Seasons Program is starting in March, 2020. In this program, we will explore the opportunity that these changes are offering for our personal growth. A new perspective can give hope where there wasn’t any before.
Seasons is a program that brings us more in touch with the natural cycles of the earth. As we learn to live through this connection we have as human beings on the face of this glorious planet, our lives become more fulfilling. As our relationship with these rhythms transforms, our energy fuels a larger transformation in those around us.