While the warmth of summer continues, there is an undeniable shift in the air. Autumn is just around the corner. The days are noticeably shorter, children go back to school (at least they do where I live), and life starts to settle back into a more grounded routine.
- Harness that back-to-school energy and get organized. My kids go back to school in two short weeks! As they buy school supplies and get organized for the coming year, I find it’s good for me to do the same: time to clean out my desk, restock paper and pens, clear out documents I no longer need in my files or on my computer, go through the photos on my phone and back them up or delete what I don’t need, reassess creative projects I’ve been working on. Back-to-school time should feel like a fresh start for everyone, adults (with our without children) included.
- The return of ritual and routine. Summer is a free-for-all…some lazy days at home, week-long camps, vacations, carpooling kids here and there for summer activities. Routine is largely out the door for the months of June and July. While this carefree living has its own appeal, I love settling back in to the school year, welcoming grounding routines and rituals back into our lives. This is a great time to reconsider your everyday rituals and routines…what is serving you and what isn’t? Perhaps you need a new morning ritual to get you started off on the right foot (see mine in number 4 below). Or maybe you don’t like the way you are rushing around just before dinner and want a better routine around preparing your evening meal (me!) Take a little time to write in your journal about the role that ritual and routine plays in your daily life and how you may want to shift yours in order to better support and care for yourself.
- A bike ride or walk with the dogs before dinner. There are times during June and July when an evening bike ride or stroll isn’t even an option due to the sun and heat. Now, as the days grow shorter, we can take advantage of the cooler evenings and get out for a little exercise before dinner.
- Quiet and solitude. With the kids back in school, there is a welcome hush that comes over the house around 7:45 a.m. each day. I love my children dearly, but I also love my solitude. I plan to soak up these quiet moments first thing in the morning with coffee and my journal on the back porch. You can keep your early morning workout or jog around the park, as lovely as I’m sure that is. THIS is my idea of the perfect morning ritual.
- More porch time. More coffee, more glasses of wine, more meals on the porch as we wind down the season of outdoor living.
- Celebrate Lammas by baking bread. It’s easy to forget that the grains we eat are grown in the ground and harvested just like corn, squash and tomatoes. By the time we purchase a bag of flour at the store, it hardly resembles the wheat it once was. Lammas is an ancient harvest celebration taking place around August 1 that marks the first harvest of grain of the season. Literally translated as “loaf mass”, people would celebrate Lammas by baking a loaf of bread from the first crop of wheat and bringing it to church as an offering of thanks. This is such a lovely reminder of the preciousness of the grains we rely on as part of our daily sustenance, and a great excuse to bake a loaf of bread from scratch in your own kitchen this month.
- Reread an old favorite. This month I will reread A Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh as I do every year around this time. This summer marks the 20 year anniversary of this book coming into my life. It’s one of my favorites, and it’s perfect for the month of August as it is a book of meditations written on a summer sojourn to the ocean. Have you read it? Do you have a favorite book you enjoy returning to again and again?
- Make a batch of homemade ice cream. We have not had the ice cream maker out all summer. Better late than never!
- Eat as many peaches as is humanly possible.
- Listen to the changing sounds in the neighborhood. Kids walking to and from school, the marching band practicing in the mornings, high school football games on Friday nights. With school back in session, everything changes, including the sounds around the neighborhood. What new sounds are you noticing this month?
So much love to you as you make this August uniquely yours with your own simple seasonal pleasures!