Kicking back in the lazy days of August
I dislike the hot, humid weather of August, more than any other kind of weather. I don’t like my clothes sticking to me. I don’t like getting all sweaty over routine chores. I don’t like having to shower more than once a day and, since our house is not air conditioned, the weather makes sleeping a challenge, although our ceiling fans do help.
But August is also one of the most undemanding months of the year. Town is quiet, as many people are away on vacation. Our goldfish pond, which I cleaned in May, is now home to healthy, growing fish. Throughout the summer, we have enjoyed a birdhouse full of wrens. They seem to be settling in permanently, and are a great pleasure.
August is the time when Linda and I plan my favorite season — autumn. We schedule our seminars and pick the night dates or the Saturdays when we will offer them. It’s fun sorting out what we are most excited about, what we want to teach and what makes this or that interesting to each other. It’s also fun checking the calendar for social events, so we don’t schedule ourselves into a conflict. For example, the matriarch of our family, Cousin Marie in Philadelphia, will be celebrating her 90th birthday the first weekend of October. No seminars that weekend!
It’s also a month when I have more time than other months. This month I have time to do a little sleuthing about paper products. Which of the sustainable ones are available at our local stores? So far, none of them, but I’ve only checked out Food Lion. Next will come a check at Martins in Charles Town and Martinsburg. The sustainable products are Green Forest and 365 Bath Tissue — not 365 Sustainably Soft, Natural Value, Earth First, Seventh Generation or Trader Joe’s.
August offers more leisure time, which I like to spend reading. This year I find myself engrossed in anything that Matthew Fox has to say. He is the former Dominican priest who ran afoul of the Vatican with his book, “Original Blessing,” in which he rejects the notion of original sin. He is now an Episcopal priest very much in demand on the speaker circuit all over the world. He is developing his thoughts on Creation Spirituality which is basically a new, upbeat theology that wonders at the beauty of the universe and views nature as alive. Very similar to shamanism. It respects things like the human body, joy, pleasure and the world as the garden we have not been thrown out of.
For more pleasurable reading, I plan to enjoy murder mysteries by Louise Penny. She’s very insightful about human nature and has a wonderful way with words. She sets her novels in a mysterious town in Quebec called “Thee Pines,” a place not unlike our own little village. Happy rest of August, all!
Bill O’Brien is a consciousness coach and shamanic practitioner. He and his wife Linda have lived in Shepherdstown since 2005. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.