Ritual


The fans are still working overtime. Hot cups of tea are relegated for first thing in the morning, and then by mid afternoon I'm so desperate for the ritual that I sweat through a steaming mug... because that's what it's really about, the ritual. I've never figured out how to make iced tea that pleases my taste buds. Then, even if I make a half decent pitcher, a glass of the cool beverage disappears quickly. A few gulps, and it's gone. There's no waiting, no patience required, no gingerly testing, risking burned taste buds and that bit of spilled boiling water if you wince and pull the mug away from your lips too quickly. 

We turned the oven on the other day to make a cake to celebrate our return to the school year. Our calendar is filling up with activities and field trips, indoor climbing and birding with the local Audubon, some road tripping and many weekly hikes. Chocolate cake so moist and spongy, it was worth the warmth in the kitchen on an already sweltering day. The ritual, the celebration, the return. 

The kids bake every week, every Tuesday to be exact. They take turns selecting recipes and baking (mostly) on their own, and then they select poetry to read for Poetry Teatime, and we celebrate the every day beauty of words and sugar and togetherness. It's simple, this ritual, but in it's own way it's just as meaningful as the first cake of the school year. 

Noticing the importance of rituals and routines, while honoring the unexpected and impulsive, and noticing the ebb and flow of each is part of my life's work, I believe. I am a creature of habit, an introvert who loves the comfort of home and seek out cozy nooks and sofas where I can tuck my feet underneath me wherever I go. Knowing this about myself is half the battle. Loving this about myself is the other half. 

And so, summer has made me weary. I've lost myself a bit. I'm tired. I'm waiting patiently for the arrival of my most recent order of yarn so I can cast on for a new sweater. I'm ready to pack up the swimsuit and the boogie boards and wash the hand-knits and dust off my boots. I'm ready to not sweat as soon as I take a sip of midday tea. 

But for now I'll take those beads of sweat on my upper lip, and know that my rituals are carrying me through until a bit of ease creeps in with a change of weather patterns, and I can tuck my feet under me on the couch and throw a hot water bottle on my lap while knitting as a child reads aloud next to me, and the change of seasons breathes new life into all of us. 

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