The other morning I’d eaten a piece of wheat toast out in our garden, enjoying a moment of warmth in the sunshine – rare during this cold summer. Later that day, I noticed the distinctive calls of what we’ve come to refer to as the “squeezy birds” in our yard – their chick-a-dee-dee-dee sounds for all the world like one of those plastic squeeze toys. Surprised by a rush of swooping fat little black-capped birds from our camellia tree, I saw that a small band of chickadees had come to snatch up the crumbs I’d left.
August 1 marks the festival of Lammas or in Gaelic lughnasadh, celebrating the year’s first harvest. One tradition calls for wheat “lammas bread” to be broken into four pieces, placed at barn corners to protect the grain. It’s the end of Midsummer’s haymaking season, and traditionally a time of plenty amidst the hard work of reaping.
As I mull over the idea of reaping what we sow – making a home here, lovingly raising our garden, and working hard to make it all possible – the reality that we’ll have to make our home in a new place sometime soon (we don’t know when or where yet) hits hard. But with that also comes the hope Emily Dickinson called “the thing with feathers/that perches in the soul,” hope and excitement for the future – the air alive with bird calls and feathers.