Honoring Community

Photo by Matt Bignon on Pexels.com

Every year, the season of fall seems to bring with it a calendar explosion of r.s.v.p’s, festivals and gatherings that create a tidal wave of celebrations starting in October and never ceasing for a moment until January 2nd.  It’s always been my favorite time of year; full of nourishing exhaustion.

Maybe this started early in my life because fall happens to be the season of my birthday.  Or maybe it’s how the weather shifts and the colors of the natural world become a warmer palate of brown, gold, orange and red.  Recipes begin showing off more butter and spice, and pie takes its rightful place as an acceptable breakfast option paired perfectly with morning coffee.  In Central Texas, it’s often the last hurrah before the peak of winter illnesses arrive, granting the final large gatherings of the year where it is relatively safe to mingle with hoards of small children.

Fall always brings the promise of space for connecting with people who make life richer, and an excuse for connecting with people I don’t yet know well but wish to bring into my life more.

It’s no wonder fall is the time of year where so many memories are created, since both fall and the earliest weeks of winter reserve dates for honoring community – that crucial element of human well-being that is so easily forgotten without the anchors of holidays, celebrations, ritual and ceremony committing us back to one another.
Sometimes these are traditions we love, sometimes it’s overwhelming and can become something we end up dreading. And like anything else, it seems like the end experience of each of these gatherings depends and reflects heavily on the intention created around what I hoped to experience from it before it ever began. Rarely do I regret making the effort to show up or host something if I do take time to ground in the intention of community being honored.

Some of my mental snapshots of fall “get-togethers” growing up were filled with sweet and savory smells of food cooking, and a visual of several female relatives occupying and commanding the kitchen and dining space.  They were the heartbeat of every gathering.  The occasions simply would not have existed without their of gift of service; they were the magic makers who turned nothing into something each gathering without fail.

Whether it was my great-grandmother along with my grandmother, mother, siblings and/or some cousins all crowded around kitchen counters or a table making the meal, or my mother and aunts orchestrating the transformation of a potluck into a conveyer belt feast of color reaching two tables long, it seems the women in my family have always been and always will be the stickiest glue holding the many sides of our blood bonds together.

As an adult without extended family nearby, I sometimes find myself missing this sense of teamwork, of being with women creating something together, with an emphasis on being in community rather than on the end product (which often was worth savoring as well).  Fall feels like the perfect time to reclaim it.

I’ll be posting some simple DIY recipes below to create in community with one another this season, some of which I hosted or participated in during the season of fall, but not all.

One of the many great things about these kinds of gatherings is that something is often accomplished as a group that is more abundant than anything we could create alone, and it’s almost always more fun – many hands can indeed make light work.

Let me know if you try hosting any of your own – whether this season or others.  Cheers this fall and winter season to you and yours.