Danielle Heckenkamp discusses seasonal living according to the liturgical calendar.
It took me several years for me to truly grasp and accept the beauty of seasonal living. If you haven’t heard of seasonal living, the best way to describe it would be through the liturgical calendar of the Church. As the Church provides the liturgical calendar based upon the fasts and feasts, so too did God create an earthly calendar through the change in the seasons. To live seasonally is to embrace the present moment, with both the positives and the negatives, which isn’t always easy to do.
As mothers, we know too well the seasons of life, and often we find it extremely difficult to accept where we are in that moment. The spilled milk, the crawling baby, the falling toddler, the school pick-ups and drop-offs, the sport practices, or chaotic dinnertime make the obligations feel endless. This is where we need to step in and adjust our mindset. Life is worth living, but we are not designed by God to be in a never-ending rat race. Of course, some years are more stressful than others, but it is important that we change our way of life to seasonal living.
In Wisconsin, the winter months bring darkness and very cold conditions. There are very few outdoor activities. (We need snow in Wisconsin for sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, skiing, and so on.) Yet, it is these long dark months that our bodies have a chance to rest. It is a time for moments around the fireplace, enjoying delicious family dinners, comfort foods, and drinking way too much hot chocolate. Wisconsinites may complain about the winter, but I have come to accept it as part of seasonally living. It is more difficult to fight the winter and dream of spring or summer, rather than embrace the rest – a Lenten sacrifice.
But after that long winter, it’s spring. A time that brings planting, blooming flowers, and warm sunshine. It’s the growth of the soul and new life – Easter time! Rest and sleep bring renewed life and this is the springtime. Our bodies have renewed their energy to begin again with gardening, outdoor activities, spring cleaning, green grass, and spring showers.
We may view summer as a time of rest since school is out and it’s time to vacation, but this is far from the truth. Summer is the time that consumes the most of our energy. It’s the warm mornings and late summer evenings that consume our lives. The sun offers extra vitamins for our bodies as we spend more active time outside. Summertime is the Ordinary Time in the Church calendar. It is the time we spend hours outside enjoying God’s creation, more time visiting friends and family, and more time in an active state.
As the seasons change, so do our moods and goals. Autumn is a time for harvest, another time for new beginnings. It’s the season for food preparation, outdoor cleanup, and the start of school. Autumn is the preparation for winter – the darkness of the world and the soul. It’s the last few moments we have of the year to soak in the warm weather, smell any remaining leaves before they die, and to prepare the home for a state of rest.
So, how do we live simply? The easiest way is to follow the Church’s Liturgical calendar closely. It is through the Feasts and Fasts that we travel through the seasons. As I have slowly adjusted our family life towards seasonal living, we have learned to love God’s creation even more.
Seasonal living gives us a sense of unity with His creation – to embrace fruits and vegetables harvested in the summer and fall, to plant our seeds and clean our homes in the spring, and to focus on the darkness of winter during Advent and Lent. It is through each season that we can learn to grow spiritually more in love with God, and our families, each day.
Copyright 2021 Danielle Heckenkamp
Images: Canva Pro
About the Author
Danielle Heckenkamp is a stay at home mom and freelance writer who lives in Wisconsin with her husband and six children. Danielle writes about her daily experiences as a mom and love for her Catholic Faith. Danielle is the co-author of a nonfiction book about manners and common sense. You can find more of Danielle's writing at Homegrown Living or step inside her daily life on Instagram.