Of course, in the depths of winter, the turning Wheel is reassuring. When the weather is bitter cold and the days are shortest, you know that soon spring will come again.
We passed Lughnasa on the Wheel not long ago. I've talked about it here before -- it's the Festival of the First Harvest. The wheat crop is coming in, and so are pitted fruits -- peaches, plums, nectarines. The early Anglo-Saxons would use the new wheat to bake bread to take to church for blessing, hence the alternate name for the day: Lammas, a corruption of hlaf-mass, or loaf-mass.
So it's a joyful time. But it can also be melancholy, if you let it be. The sun is setting a little earlier now, and it's apparent that summer is winding down. In our modern world, the biggest end-of-summer marker, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, is the beginning of the new school year. When I was a kid, our first day of school was always the day after Labor Day, which is always the first Monday in September -- but with school systems playing around with their calendars these days, a post-Labor Day start is practically unheard of now. Most schools begin in mid- to late August. And I talked to someone this weekend whose kids went back to school on August 1st.
New beginnings are always exciting, and of course we look forward to them. But the start of something new almost always means that something old is ending at the same time. It's easy to forget about the old thing in our rush -- easy to forget to give the old thing its due.
I've spent the summer promoting the five Pipe Woman Chronicles books, with each book taking its turn at going free on Amazon. The final promotion, for Annealed, ended yesterday (and by the way, thanks to the thousands of people who downloaded a copy!). And while these books aren't going anywhere, I'm turning my thoughts now to the new thing -- the next series in Naomi's universe. It's bittersweet to say goodbye, for now, to the characters in the Pipe Woman Chronicles -- so one way I'm easing the pain, so to speak, is by fleshing out some new characters by imagining where they were when the Big Mediation in Annealed occurred, how they learned about it, and what it will mean for them. It's safe to say that in all three cases, their lives will be very different because of the mediation.
I'm planning to introduce each of these characters to you in a short story, one per month. I'm aiming to release the first one before the end of August, with the next two coming in successive months thereafter. And with any luck, by the end of November I'll have the first full novel ready to go.
So I'm letting go of the Pipe Woman Chronicles, while looking forward to Land, Sea, Sky. I'll let you know more in a couple of weeks.
In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your summer. Fall will be here before you know it.
This moment of bloggy melancholy has been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.