All posts tagged: traditions

The smell of cardamom

Happy New Year everyone. Today – or sometime in the next week, depending on which Christian tradition you might come from – is the day when the Christmas season is traditionally put aside.  I got home to Cambridge last night from two weeks of celebration with friends and family, in Oakland and Berkeley, Austin and Dallas.  There were new babies and puppies to meet, old mementos to look through, and even a trip to San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker, a new production that I have grown to love as much as the one I grew up with. But, like many of you are, I’m ready for the joy of the holiday season to make way for the quiet work of resolutions and planning, new projects simmering with my weekly pot of beans.  My social media is filled with “I love this time of year” confessions, moments of solitude in the middle of white-dusted sidewalks or, in my case, the stacks of the library.  Weekend afternoons under blankets with an endless mug of something hot.  So, in …

September Tomatoes

“September Tomatoes” by Karina Borowicz has become one of my touchstones this season.   Traditions are a way of measuring the passage of time – the day, the week, the year, the passing years – because they force us to tune into change.  Where were we during the last time we celebrated a season changing?  The last time we ate apples and honey?  Who were we with, how were we feeling?  Family traditions can be especially evocative in this way, because we feel them assemble in a kind of continuum over the course of our lives.  As adults, I feel like we live these traditions in a kind of double time: in the present, as a way to attend to the moment or the celebration in our current lives, and in our memories, as we remember our own experience as a child participating in them.  Celebrating each holiday or keeping each tradition in a way is the feeling of reliving each one that you’ve kept previously — and if it’s a cultural or family tradition, reliving …

Cultivating: Midsummer

I’ve been thinking this summer about nostalgia.  This is the season for remembering first kisses (mine: 17 years old, on a balcony in San Sebastian, Spain, sometime in mid July, during a rainstorm), family camping trips, and the long days of daydreaming of past summers (that’s me in the hat, as a young teen, at left.  This picture gives me that odd feeling of not knowing where we are in this picture, and not remembering the moment at all).  If you have kids, it’s the time when they make memories like this for themselves.  I wonder what it’s like to watch them do that, to see echoes of your former self in them and experience the simultaneity of memory and experience.  This is the tinge of sadness that summer brings – knowing that it comes to an end, knowing that we’re getting older, that the year will soon get colder again.  The hopefulness of spring and the resilience of fall and winter lie on either side of us, and at the height of summer we …