You can tell it’s Fall, because I’ve started knitting again. Working on a hat (again – same yarn, maybe I’ll get it right this time) for my wife. I also made a shawl pin (yeah, yeah, I’m on pinterest now – hello, band-wagon, how are you?) using black ceramic beads and heavy-gage aluminum jewelry wire. The fibre arts they are a-calling me. There’s a slice of fresh-baked bread with butter on my Lady of the Hearth’s altar. I’ve changed out the wreath on my door – the lilacs and tulips have gone back on the shelf, and the autumn leaves are, well, blocking my peep-hole rather spectacularly. But they’re there! I have this week’s Fabulous Friday Dinner (featuring a malbec shiraz, baked-today bread, and a hearty beef stew) simmering in the slow-cooker. Tonight we’ll be dining by altar-light. I have preserves set aside for midwinter gifts (and, yes, more still to make). There’s a bottle of Sortilege in the wine cellar (this one is left over, intentionally, from our wedding reception, but we get in a couple of bottles every year for Midwinter).
I am, slowly but surely, developing traditions (and maybe Traditions?) of my own.
What makes something a tradition, and what makes it “force of habbit”?
I think that, when something becomes Tradition (and I mea that in the year-wheel sense, rather than in the religious denomination sense – although it could apply to both) it’s because there’s meaning and significance attached to the activity.
Tomato Juice means Xmas and Thanksgiving, to me, because when I was growing up, that’s what the kids got (instead of wine) as a special-occasion drink. We didn’t get it any other time of year and, specifically because it was a Special-Occasion Drink, all of my siblings and I were really surprised to find out that it’s, like, a buck a litre. We were all expecting it to be like $8 a pop.
I still only get it for Special Occasions (or, okay, canning tomatoes – but I’ve only done that once).
That I start knitting when the days start being shorter than the nights – almost to the day this year – I think is telling. Or maybe I’m just adding Meaning to it because the Equinox is significant to me, and fibre arts are a way of connecting to my ancestors and honouring feminine-coded handiwork (that tends to get dismissed as “just a hobby” even when it’s not) and being able to do so is something that matters.
That I’m thinking about “What to eat in January” as early as May, when the dandelions put out their leaves and I start blanching and freezing (and tossing them into pastas and stews – that’s important, too); that the direct-sown snap beans are ready for their first harvest right around The First Harvest at the beginning of August; that Canada Day tastes like serviceberries, but Summer Solstice (barely 10 days earlier) tastes like strawberry-rhubarb pie and pulled pork with rhubarbicue sauce; that I harvest my pumpkins (and the rest of the winter squash) when it’s time to carve the Jack-o-Lantern, and not before; that putting a pot on the stove to boil water makes me think of my gods (even when I’m not boiling it for an offering); that I make our bread (not just for special occasions, but always) and offer the first slice to my Lady of abundance and the kitchen…
All of this stuff is Part of What I Do. It’s part of my practice.
These are my traditions.
What are yours?
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally need to get on that sunflowers and wheat wreath I keep thinking I’m going to make. Seriously.
 And by “cellar” I mean “bottom shelf in our store room”. But “cellar” has a nice ring to it.
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