In Spring the sun is shining and the birds are singing with unbound joy. Unrestrained we run outside and leave at home that precious hat. Our grandmothers knew that if the tops of our heads, ears and throats are protected we will not get cold.
Sprouts, herbs and asparagus begin pushing aside and their blankets of leaves and we cut some into our foods to absorb those wonderfully refreshing greens.
In summer the days are longer, the sun stays longer and we go to sleep later as well as rising earlier with the sun. When the sun is too hot in the early afternoon we take a rest to preserve our energy and protect our bodily fluids - for energy during the later afternoon and a longer night.
In summer we eat less – simpler and cooler foods to balance the heat – as well as foods with a higher water-to-solid ratio to replenish waters absorbed by the sun.
Late summer food is wonderful: Sweet juicy corn fresh from the fields, boiled and coated with butter for dinner. We eat it after our afternoon swim at the ocean, sand still caught in our ears, the salt from the ocean still clinging to our skin. We eat little and are satisfied. One or two “ears” of corn are sufficient. It is a simple dinner eaten early and our bodies, nourished with movement need less to eat. A light dinner helps us sleep well.
The fall is a myriad of change. Leaves dry and separate themselves from the trees, falling to the ground to give a layer of protection to the Earth and to bring space between the branches for the winter sun to shine in the darker months ahead.
The Mother Earth is bursting in reds and oranges, in maroons and browns. The air is dry and fragrant like overripe grapes. We eat more warming foods which will prepare us for the colder weather ahead. It is the season of harvest and we gather in apples and nuts, pumpkins and squashes.
It is winter and the earth is frozen. The landscape is a painting of browns and grays and spots of dark red – the berries for the birds. Then deep blues and white. Stews and soups with meats and onions and cabbage and beans and a bit of meat. For breakfast a warming porridge from oats will sustain us.
There is still fresh Kale and beets and brussel sprouts in the garden, covered in snow yet ready to be cooked. If the ground is not too frozen it is possible to dig up a forgotten celery root for the evening soup. We can add to that soup an iron nail and possibly a bone from the butcher to help strengthen our blood to keep us from getting ill.
The heating system lets us bask in warmth but the air does not flow and the windows need to be opened so our lungs can expand. There are chilies and garlic and ginger, dried berries and fruits all at hand to make tea or soup in case there is a hint of a chill.