Seasonal living can seem overwhelming to many of us because our modern lives keep us slightly (and sometimes severely) removed from the natural world. The thing to remember is that seasonal living is as old as time itself and that it is easier than many of the books written on the subject make it appear. Rather than trying to take it all at once and do all the fun projects, keep it simple and build on each step one at a time. Do something this season and build upon it in the next. Little by little it all adds up, the time is going to pass one way or another, so start small and before you know it, things that once seemed impossible will be old hat. Start today with these 3 steps to live more seasonally and watch how you, your family, and your home find a more seasonal rhythm almost without trying and certainly without a bunch of tears or screams of frustration.
1. Get Outside
Go outside, into nature. Even if nature is a city park, just get outside in whatever natural world that is close and available as often as possible. Dress appropriately and try to experience it in a variety of different weather patterns. Keep it safe, of course, no walks in a hurricane but don’t be afraid of a little drizzle. Unplug from the modern world and get into the natural one. No cell phones, no tablets, no fitness bracelets, just your body moving through the natural world. Allow your mind to stop listening for cell phone notifications and instead focus on the birds singing, what’s blooming, the clouds in the sky, and everything else there is to sense in the natural setting.
I’m not talking about going backpacking for a week in the Bob Marshall Wilderness (though if that’s your thing, that’s good too). Just get outside and walk around a few times a week. Leave the cell phone and other bits of technology at home, you don’t need it. I promise, you don’t need it, promise*. No, you don’t need to take photos with your phone or other camera either. Just walk and absorb what is happening with the earth right at this moment.
This is the biggest key, in my opinion, to living a more seasonal life – actually getting out into the natural world and experiencing the rhythm of the earth first hand.
*A note for folks who just can’t imagine not having the safety of a cell phone, if you must have that phone ‘just in case’ turn it off completely (yes, completely) and put it in a backpack or back pocket and make an agreement not to turn it on again until returning home or heaven forbid there is an actual emergency (and by actual emergency I mean a fall that includes a broken bone or seeing someone else fall).[sc:FiercelyDIY ]
2. Eat Something Wild
Caution needs to be applied here, naturally, don’t eat what you can’t identify. However, it doesn’t need to be an exotic mushroom either. Simply eat something that mother nature has provided. Make it as simple as dandelion greens harvested from the (unsprayed) lawn, the weed otherwise known as purslane pulled from the flower garden, or the wild raspberries spotted in the park during the weekly walk. Again, make sure of identification before putting something into the mouth but almost all of us can spot something wild and edible growing fairly close to us – keep it simple. Learn to identify the wild mushrooms and other more exotic plants from a knowledgeable mentor in your area at another time.
3. Preserve Something for Later
Pick enough wild berries to make jam? Do just that. It doesn’t have to be 40 quarts of peaches, small batches are amazing too, keep it simple and in fitting for your life. Make a batch of freezer jam, dehydrate some herbs, can up some pickles, whatever works. If you already do tons of this, great – keep it up, if you’re new to food preservation start slow. It’s a great way to get a sense for the seasonal rhythm of the earth by simply preserving something available to you now for a time later when it’s not available. That pot of spaghetti in January will be even tastier for the oregano you dried during the summer months.
As we approach the beginning of summer, think about small changes to incorporate seasonal living into the everyday. Summer is probably the easiest season in which to dip the toes into seasonal living as it is so abundant and generally more pleasant for our modern bodies to get outside. Creating these small habits now will help create a foundation of seasonal living to build upon come fall and winter.