The Jam Jar Year

Cleanse : Grow : Reflect : Nurture

We’ll celebrate New Year as the French do en famille with a special meal. But our year, as reclaimed and redefined by us, won’t start until spring equinox, March 20th.

I’ve been trying to shop, cook and eat seasonally for a few years, but in France, we’ll be able to live our lives in tune with the seasons in the most fundamental sense. We’ve examined what the seasons mean to us, at a primal and spiritual and personal level. We’re making this meaning explicit through the way we mark the changing seasons and the way we change our behaviour as the months pass.

We’ve questioned and prodded and flipped over every significant date in the calendar and the way it is celebrated, and looked into the origin story of each. Inspired by Nadia’s post on Christmas in the Foothills, and the idea of blending the best of both British and French cultures annd traditions. For us, it’s out with Pancake Day and Bonfire Night, which hold little meaning now and will make even less sense to us in France. Mardi Gras and Bastille Day will become new highlights of our year.

Spring ~ Cleanse

On the last day of winter we will burn the old, a bonfire in the garden, honouring our past, liberatong ourselves of baggage and parts of ourselves we wish to leave behind. We’ll toast the dead. We’ll have made our offering, will have given something back of ourselves, in gratitude for our lives, since Mardi Gras. In place of fasting, we’ll refrain from theorising and writing, and give up tv and the internet as far as practical, to see the holes that remain, and fill them with more nurturing physical connection with the earth and each other. We’ll spend a couple of weeks spring cleaning and decluttering and getting the house ready for a fresh coat of paint here, a new pair of curtains there. On the first morning of spring, having purged the old, we’ll annoint ourselves with cold fresh spring water, washing the ashes from our hands. The first ‘bathe’ of the year. Echoing our Eastleach baptism from this life.

Summer ~ Grow

The season we will spend the most time in our garden. A season of free time out of school. A season that plants grow the fastest, and our garden will need our help and attention to grow to its fullest potential. A time to explore and discover and learn about ourselves and develop all our methods, together. A season of celebration. Seb’s birthday sports day BBQs.

Autumn ~ Reflect

The time to consolidate the growth of the summer and to take stock. A return to our roots and to take time to record our growth and to prepare for a quieter gentler time.  We’ll indulge in organising the dvd collection, editing our family manifesto and replacing last year’s in the same frame, and printing out photos. Instead of marking the heights of the children on their birthdays or at christmas, we’ll add our growing handprints to our family tree mural. We’ll stock up on logs and food for winter. We’ll celebrate the Aos Si in a magical fantastical take on Halloween. And we’ll take our last bathe of the year in the Med on Ben’s birthday with sparklers on the beach at sunset.

Winter ~ Nurture

This will be our time of rest and recovery. We love to batten down the hatches and hibernate a while. We’ll drink mulled wine and cider throughout winter, not just at Christmas. This is family time. The only time of year we’ll return to England for a week to see family. The only time of year we’ll shut down the roulottes for a few weeks ready for the ski season. We’ll enjoy quality tme together in the snow. Both Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day are days of nurture, feasting, and indulgence, before the fresh new beginning of another spring.

~J

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