Monday, August 01, 2005

Happy LooNaSa

Thus the pronunciation of Lughnasadh. The Slavs and the Celts got extra consonants, while the Polynesians got extra vowels.

LooNaSa, or Lughnasadh, is a pagan holiday of harvest, the first harvest so say my notes. I suspect it is the celebration of the harvest of summer fruits and veggies, which anyone who has a veggie patch or fruit tree is fully aware. I have a friend with a plum tree. I now have a refrigerator with plums on every shelf and hoisin sauce coming soon. My friend thinks I'm great as I'm one of the few people who doesn't run when he walks up with a bag. He could bring me all the plums off the tree (that the birds hadn't nibbled already) and I would be happy. Plums freeze. Plums dry. Plums turn into hoisin sauce. Plums ferment. The downside to plums is that I can eat too many, at which point I spend long periods of time in the bathroom with a good book.

I used to live next door to an apricot tree and for two glorious weeks every year, I would gorge myself on fresh, golden, tree-ripened apricots. My family didn't appreciate it but short of chaining me inside, they couldn't stop me. You see, this house had four people . . . and only one bathroom. But it was only two weeks, two golden weeks before the fruit got too ripe and fell off the tree.

Summer also meant green apples. Now, we have all sorts of apples all year, but when I was young, the tart green apples would show up in early summer. My mother would bring some home and we all knew summer vacation wasn't far off. Even now, my preferred time to eat green apples is summertime. They don't seem right any other time.

Lughnasadh may be a pagan holiday, and in these days of evangelical Christian vocalization, mentioning it may annoy some, but the sentiments are worth sharing, worth remembering. Harvest of the first fruits of the season, the blessings of the gardens and orchards, remembering the bounty of the earth and of our hearts. There are many things that were . . . uncomfortable about my childhood, but those few short weeks of fruit were not among them.