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February 19 - Attending to Seasons as a Practice of Presence and Prayer

The quote in the paper cut above comes from a beautiful book by Macrina Wiederkeher called Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day.

Her words tie together the awareness we explored in the first week of light at different hours of the day with an awareness of seasonal change throughout the year. Seasonal change happens more slowly but follows a similar rhythm and pattern to the changing light of the hours of the day.

Unlike the hours of the day which we can observe daily, an observation of the seasons involves a longer term practice of attention and observation. I invite you to reflect on ways a practice of attention in a place close to your home might help you to notice the subtleties of seasonal changes.

This week begins the season of Lent in the Christian tradition. I was reminded recently that the origin of the word Lent is “spring season.” Last year for Lent, I committed to visiting a park near my home each week. On Ash Wednesday, the paths through the park were been regraded with stone dust and I couldn’t help but be reminded of images of ash and dust from Ash Wednesday services.

It was interesting to observe the transformation of one well known space between late February and early April of last year. So much change occurred in our routines and daily lives during this time that the natural signs of spring were a welcome consistency.

Today as you reflect on your observations, anticipation and memories of seasons this week, you might also want to think of the year as a wheel and imagine how the seasons fit together in this way. My paper cuts above and below are versions of imagining the wheel of the year through changes in the trees.

Practice - Getting to Know A Place Through Seasonal Change

Today I invite you to think about a space in nature you know well. It might be the view out of your kitchen window, your flower beds, a neighbor’s garden or a favorite park nearby. I encourage you to choose one spot and see what you can observe of change over the next 6 weeks.

Below is one tree in the woods behind my house that I have been observing over the past couple years. It is the tallest tree in this section of forest; I notice it is the last to get its leaves in the spring and the last to lose them in the fall.

Here are several different seasonal views from the beginning of the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park. I’ve been taking pictures in this spot since 2016.

Inspiration from Art - Nancy Chinn’s Banners for the Seasons of the Liturgical Year

Below are images of a series of banners created to represent the Christian liturgical year by artist Nancy Chinn. These were created for Washington National Cathedral for its centennial celebration in 2007. You can read more about Nancy Chinn and this project here.

The banners represent (from left to right) Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Ordinary Time 1, Ordinary Time 2, Christ in the World.

Whether the seasons of the Christian year are part of your practice or not, it can be interesting to observe these banners in regard to their colors and flow of shapes. They might spark ideas for your own depiction of seasons that resonate in your experience of a year.

Thank you for continuing to travel with me through this newsletter. As we complete the third week and enter into our final week, I welcome any feedback you might like to share on your experience so far.

Thank you to everyone who has been sharing images and creations.

Please feel free to share anything you are noticing or creating.

Respond to this email or share on Instagram with hashtag #papercolorearth

Thanks, Kathryn

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