Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ecclesiastes 3:1

From the passing of Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1603, the Bible was rewritten by a league of scholars and learned men in England of the early 17th century.  It was created in order to become a work 'for the common people'.  In 1611 it debuted as the King James Bible evoking great literary and heavenly passion through the subsequent years.  From it's pages have come a litany of phrases that we use everyday, at least in the English language.  Having been vastly used and copied they and are now in our every day jargon.  The most used and quoted phrase is from Ezekiel 4:10, 'From time to time'

The one which reasonates to me and is, in part, the tell tale for things agricultural and cooking is from Ecclesiastes 3:1, 'To every thing there is a season'.  If you stop to let those seven words come full circle in your mind you can understand it's power.  The small, the grandiose, the subtle, the vague and the immaculate are all seasonal.  The Edelweiss which grows in Austrian and Swiss alpine meadows has a season in which it blooms and grows....the raging torrents of the Colorado River, gouging and scarring the walls of the Grand Canyon, had a season until the Glen Canyon Dam halted it's seasonal fury in 1964....the furled fern fronds that peek their crooked necks out of the ground in March and April in New England have their seasonality as they grow into a complete fern soon after their early springtime arrival....The Winter of our Discontent is John Steinbeck's last novel (written and published in 1961, which is a story of fortune lost and a life forlorn) and the title is a reference to the first two lines of William Shakespeare's Richard III, Act I, Scene 1-

'Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun/son of York'.

Most obvious are the four seasons of the year that drive our climate and relegate us to riders on the blue planet, necessitating our adaptive natures.  They are what we notably confront everyday when we wake and set ourselves to our daily tasks.  Rainy April mornings and blustry October afternoons are interrupted, thankfully by sun-ripened summer days.  Our northern-latitude calender year ends and begins with the snowy and bitter cold of December and January.  Farmers live within and because of the seasons.  Roaming herds of Lapland Reindeer and East African Wildebeests live, eat and die within the confines of the geographic seasons.  Anandromous and Catadromous fish are born to migrate and eventually, like the Pacific Chinook, Coho and Sockeye Salmon, miraculously return to their birthplace to spawn and die - all within their own seasonality.  We have likened our own human existence to the Spring of young life, the Summer of love and possibilities, the Autumn of marriage and our life work to the Winter of old age and death...

I have always maintained that there are 12 seasons.  I am not a farmer but, as a cook and chef, I wish to use the abundant seasonality of spring, summer, autumn and winter bounty.  Hence, my company's name is 12Seasons...  All these seasonal events help to tie us together for what we are.  We are the human animal, and how we have adapted to the far ranging seasonal elements on the earth has helped to define us culturally, socially, politically, spirtually and, at last, gastronomically...  We are what we eat and what we eat, eats - and when, depending on the season, we may or can or SHOULD eat what we have sown and reaped.  My hope is that we can somehow, and I do not have the answer to this question - only the question, find the way, in any season, to continue to partake of the bounty of what the earth brings forth.  The seaons are more powerful than us.  When we try to circumvent the seaonality of food, we get dangerous results.  We must learn to live in the harmony of all seasons.  Peace.

'Adopt the pace of nature.  Her secret is patience.'  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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