If you looked out of the window now, I’m sure you’d see some indication of what season it currently is. Perhaps a cyclone of leaves is whirling its way down the street, shimmering gold, scarlet and ochre and rustling against the pavement? Or maybe your window’s already open and there’s a faint hum coupled with the evocative scent of freshly mown grass? Wherever you are in the world, whether nature’s year is drawing to a close or just beginning, change is always afoot, and while the animal and natural world adapt and evolve accordingly, as humans we often dismiss these transformations as irrelevant and unimportant.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
Seasonal living is all about recapturing this evolution, taking care to notice the delicate changes in our environment and adjusting the way we live in response. For me seasonal living is not just an ethos or an idea I return to every once in a while, but a way of life. When you live by the seasons, life is simple and seems to boast a deeper sense of purpose; if nature has existed in this way for thousands of years, then why shouldn’t we? Instead of resisting what we see as complications and inconveniences – the heavy snows in winter or the sticky heat of those few summer days, for example – it’s much less complex to simply embrace the weather and seasonal patterns we are presented with.
Implenting easy steps to create a seasonal life
If you’re on board with the concept, then implementing steps to create and live a more seasonal life is the easy part. Start slowly and adjust to the temperature and weather outside. Breathe in the air deeply and really take in your surroundings, noticing the sounds and smells of the season. Buy vegetables from your local farm and revel in the knowledge that you’re not only supporting local business, but you’re also eating fresh produce that hasn’t been shipped miles and miles just for you. When May arrives, eat all the asparagus you can manage for the month. In June, gorge on strawberries until you can take no more. Make the most of what’s growing in the fields around you or in backyards throughout the country and trust that nature knows what she’s doing when summer ends and so do the fresh tomatoes.
Ready for more?
Try seasonal activities and spend your time wisely. Once the nights start to draw out in the spring, take long evening walks and watch as the sun’s stretched fingers turn everything they touch a golden hue. Forget the oven and take the kitchen outside on those long, lingering, balmy summer nights. As the cusp of autumn arrives, start preparing for the months ahead by preserving summer surplus, foraging for berries and storing squashes. Finally, as winter encroaches, curl up and learn a new craft whilst indulging in hot drinks and hibernating under layers of blankets.
While seasonal living might seem like a chore to some, for me following the rhythm of nature feels like returning to an ancient and traditional cycle; it makes me feel calm and still and yet at the same time so voraciously full of life.
Eleanor is obsessed with stories. She writes for a number of online spaces including This is Your Kingdom, edits Creative Countryside, curates #aseasonalyear and teaches at Chalk House. In addition, she is currently studying for an MA in Creative Non-Fiction Writing. You'll find her roving the fields of the Lincolnshire Wolds or planning her next rural adventure.