Reaping What You Sow
Yes, it's that time of year. No, not time for massive Back To School ads, stocking up on notebooks, binders, and crayons, and catching the big yellow bus. It's harvest time. I think one has to be wary of new rituals. In looking back historically, any time a new ritual is put forth strongly by the powers that be, it's because it is meant to replace an old ritual, usually one that has value and worth to the people who practice it. Christmas and Easter quite susipciously fall on dates previously occupied by important pagan holidays, dates that basically have nothing whatsoever to do with Christ's birth or death. And the ritual of Back To School falls neatly on top of what used to be the harvest.
Does anyone remember when school actually started in the Fall? There was a reason for that. Kids helped out in the farm, or even just in the garden patch at home. Even when I was growing up (not so long ago, for your information!), many kids were working in the fields or off on hunting trips as the leaves began to fall. Not so anymore. Some kids in the U.S. have already been back at their desks since mid-August, is it any wonder that farm families are finding it hard to keep their children in the family farming tradition? The kids are pulled away from it starting in Kindergarten. As a nation and a culture, we have lost contact with the turning of the seasons, the yearly cycles of abundance and lack. Why bother? We have a grocery store just down the road.
Unschooling gives us the opportunity to revel in the abundance of the season. To pick blackberries all morning and eat corn on the cob right off our stalks for dinner, and yes, to pose as The Statue of Cucumber Liberty. We've got applesauce to brew up, plums to dry, and berries to freeze. Also of course, big empty beaches to visit, lakes to kayak, and campgrounds to occupy, now that they're blissfully quiet. And I hear that the huckleberries are just starting to come on at the coast...