I (Claire) grew up in the countryside all my life. I was aware of the changing seasons. The long stretch of the summer evenings playing rounders in the garden and the unbelievable darkness of a midwinter morning getting ready for school. The farm to some extent too shaped my experience of the seasons. The colours changing in the fields, the jobs required of us, the smells in the air, all gave rhythm and structure to life.
When I lived bang smack in Dublin City centre for a time later in life, I always sought out these signifiers. The sycamore tree below our window, rooted in asphalt and smattered with dust from buses blundering down the quays, shone like a lone star guiding me through the seasons. Nature seems even more stark, vital and visible to me in a city dwelling.
The cherry blossoms of Trinity college told me exams were coming. In the city Nature was persistent in sending messages, in forcing its rules and rhythms upon me.
Now, I am back on the farm where I grew up. Nature cradles me, and I am held in its rhythms of grace.
It’s one thing to live in nature but another to work with it. Since starting the seasonal growing journey in Charis Garden, I have never felt more acutely aware of the subtle and stark transitions through Seasons. I have never before been so thankful for these rhythms of grace holding my life in their hands.
In the height of summer, when the garden has the needs and dependancy of a newborn baby, I am given bright nights to pop out in the quiet cool of the late evening and water our tunnels. Through October, as the garden has fostered a degree of independence, darkness folds in around our edges slowing us down, tucking us in earlier each evening and rising us later each morning.
We are so grateful for these messages. They tell us who we are, where we are and what we are doing. We are so in need of this holding and shaping. We are so thankful to learn the steps and dance to these rhythms of grace.