Last Sunday the Rev. Marina Lachecki shared a profound message about seasonal teachings at the Chequamegon Unitarian Universalist Fellowship service. Along with daylight savings arbitrarily shifting time, being a witness to the changing season and sunlight have felt especially poignant this year. One of the many teachings Marina shared with us is that during the darkest days of the year, according to the practices of her ancestors, one sets an extra place at the table for another who is going through times of loss or illness. Every so often, I hear something that makes me pause, and this was one of those times. During the darkest times of the year, one gives abundantly. As I thought about this, I felt the teaching in my body. I thought about how, during the darkest times in my heart, I don’t reach out to share generously with others. When I am angry about communal or political happenings, when I am defeated by the complex problems that have no easy solutions, I grasp for things that serve me or my position. This seasonal teaching helped me see that, like the seasons, our lives also cycle. What a beautiful ritual to remember, again and again, that generosity and care should be extended on the darkest days.
The seasonal teachings Marina shared are part of a more in-depth program she has been developing with Rob Goslin and regional artists and musicians about Ojibwe, Celtic and Medieval European perspectives on living with the seasons. A full-length workshop will be shared when the season of COVID allows for safer in-person community gatherings. I wonder what other teachings might be shared and what they will generate.