In some desert areas, there are spectacular wildflower blooms after particularly wet winters. In the mountains, temporary waterfalls are created by spring snowmelt. Lunar and (especially) solar eclipses; meteor showers; comets, auroras, bird migrations, autumn foliage… there are marvels that come around us, and not too infrequently. We must not be “too busy” with quotidian affairs to experience them.
We can have as many natural holy days as we can notice. Where I live, in Vancouver, watch the flags and trees: when the wind starts blowing from the south, rain will arrive within a day. If we notice it coming – if we go outside to an open area away from wind tunnels and wind shadows every day – then we can celebrate both the last hours of sunshine and the return of the rains that nourish our temperate rainforest.
Maybe ideally we would celebrate every sunrise, every sunset, every sign of the changing seasons. The animist part of me knows that every piece of the world is sacred, so every day is a holy day. We’re surrounded by miracles and beauty every day, all the time, but we also need to pay the bills and visit the dentist and take out the recycling. And despite reading many cute articles about how to clean your house in a ritual or sacred way, I don’t feel like I’m connecting with a higher power while I’m crawling to vacuum under the couch. Though I’m lucky enough to have a day job that is aligned with my values, it is still work and my love of spreadsheets doesn’t make them sacred. I am not a monk.
I can’t live every moment in a state of awe or connectedness; that’s why we have rituals. If I try to make every day into a sacred day, I know that none of them will feel special. The full moon is beautiful to see, but seems remote and I’ve never quite got the habit of Esbats. But I am challenging myself to watch for the south wind coming in, and to honour those weather changes. And if they should bring with them one of Vancouver’s rare lightening storms, I’ll be thrilled to honour that too.