"The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch
of grapes as if it had nothing else in
the universe to do."
Its mid-July and I am sitting on my front porch once again, having returned from 17 days on the East Coast. It's warm and breezy, and the wind-chimes provide the perfect tinkling to accompany the wildly-brushing-against-each-other-leaves that cover the trees on our street. My yard is shady at this time of day and the garden is dancing with busy bees and butterflies gathering nectar from the flowers my Sweetheart has been cultivating for our viewing pleasure. The whispery rush of the wind in the trees is one of my favorite things about this porch in the heat of summer.
As I sit here, I can't help but notice the season of ripening has begun. The limey green shoots of spring have been replaced with the emerald richness that heralds maturity. Every bush and branch is dressed in its completed summer regalia. And while the flowers I mentioned earlier continue to bloom, many have already been replaced by the crunchy brown pods that hold the seeds of potential for another year.
I've always found it questionable that our modern society expresses winter as the time of hustle and bustle, while summer is considered a time of vacation and rest. Nature's example is exactly the opposite. Nature releases its need to bring forth life and, instead, rests in the fall and winter, slumbering under a blanket of cool stillness. It works diligently in the spring and summer to birth new life, and to nurture that life into plump abundance. (The impact of our living in opposition to Nature is something worthy of discussion on another day. For now, I am focused on the ripening.)
In general, when fruit ripens, it gets softer, sweeter and more colorful. There is little that can be done to speed up this natural process. It takes time. The best fruit is harvested when the perfect conditions (sun, water, etc) combine with a lack of bad weather or predators that might snatch the fruit from the vine before it is fully ready.
If we were to walk in harmony with the earth, now would be our time of ripening too - a time to get softer, sweeter and more colorful. In this season, we spend more time outside in the sun, gathering together for picnics, family visits and other activities. We seem to laugh more and show a bit more of our lively selves to the world.
Like fruit, our ripening can be halted by predators that pray on our soft, sweet core. For that reason, its a good time to be selective about who we spend our time with and to surround ourselves with those who are healthy of mind, heart and body. Its a good time to visit with friends who have a positive and optimistic perspective on the "bad weather" of life (which we are all subject to at one time or another).
For the next few weeks, I'll be ripening...sitting on my porch, or maybe in my kayak, basking in the sun, enjoying this season and the sweetness it brings. I'll be sharing time with darling souls who bring meaningful stories and vibrancy into my life, and i'll be marveling at the varied hues of our shared existence. I'll be softening - allowing the shields I've used to protect myself to fall away so that the delight of living freely and joyfully can come to the surface.
It takes time to ripen fully. If I can simply give myself the gift of this time, the ripening I'll experience will lead to tasty pleasures and nourishment in the harvest season ahead.
How about you? Are you ready to ripen?