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英語英文学科

2020.08.25

August and the Festival of the First Fruits|Kate Bowes

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英語英文学科

As I begin writing this, it’s just after sunrise on Saturday, August 1st. The cicadas woke singing even earlier than me! I’m sitting under a lush green wisteria vine at a little picnic bench in a park a short walk from my home, enjoying the cool, fresh morning air. 

The beginning of August marks an old holiday (holy day), in Celtic, European and northern hemisphere Christian cultures called the Festival of the First Fruits. In other words, this is traditionally the time when what we planted in the spring is ready for the first harvest of the growing season. In Europe, this means wheat and corn from the fields; apples, peaches and grapes from the orchards. The old name for the feast day is ‘Lammas’. People brought baked bread to Church on this day to celebrate and give thanks for the harvest, and kids made cute corn dollies. There are many shapes of bread, but the ones that I like best honour the figures of fertility and include salt. Bread and salt in many European countries are used as a greeting to show welcome and hospitality. 

Lammas Loaves

Lammas Loaves

The Japanese academic year follows the seasons so we can use the energies of each season to reflect on our lives and for you, as you make your way toward your goals, the part of life devoted to learning. Now, in summer vacation, while the heat is peaking, we humans are slowing down the pace and intensity of effort, to rest a while and enjoy all that is green, sweet and buzzing with energy. Students, our growing season has been strange this year, hasn’t it? Our regular rhythms have been greatly changed by our care for others, especially in the form of social distancing, during the coronavirus pandemic.

A corn dolly

A corn dolly

Even so, we can always learn new things! I wonder: what have you been tending in your fields of learning? Did your first fruits grow well; did you get good results? Or was your growing season affected by the coronavirus? Are you making progress – making sure your fields have enough water, are weeded and pest free?

On hot days when I don’t want to move about outdoors, I like to look out of the window and day dream. Rest and reflection are important for our health, of course, and for our future harvests. 

Now the growing season in nature turns slow – the flavours deepen as they ripen. What do you dream of deepening and ripening more fully in your life and in your studies, to harvest later in the year? 
 

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