i discovered that i have fragrant gardenias growing in my yard. the rose bush has a nice crop of rich blooms. the hammock, the cooler, the trike: are all getting plenty of use. and our sibling cats, luna and loki, turn ten this summer. ten!!!
i somehow often seem to let summer solstice pass me by. summer vacation always begins weeks before the solstice, and since generally the hot weather is well established, i'm usually already in the thick of summer activities and not thinking that a "beginning" is yet to come.
but this year the weather remained relatively cool (if not downright chilly) until the day before solstice. with the arrival of the intense heat, i was well aware of summer's commencement. i made it a point to get myself to a solstice gathering i'd been invited to. and in a meeting of communities, dan's band jamthicket also played at the gathering.
i've felt very reflective as we pass through this seasonal threshold. i have to admit, it has not felt all that light-filled to me. there are a lot of loose ends in my life right now. the house is in chaos. we are going on vacation in a few days and don't even have cat sitters yet. tristan has been in turns the most beautiful, loving, and creative little boy, and a soldier at war. our days are filled with land mines. i remember how giddy i was when he told me he loved me for the first time. this month has brought the first, i don't love you mom.
and whether or not you believe in astrology, you should read this month's forecast by my friend molly cliborne gauthier, an excellent astrologer who has a very real-world approach to her explanations of the planetary relationships. i feel the heaviness. stress, misfires, assumptions, emotions, difficulty with words, drama: these are all aspects that feel strong currently.
there was a lovely solstice ritual at the gathering, where we ate the most vibrant raw garlic and were asked to talk about what solstice means to us. i felt too shadowy to say anything. but in a way, shadowy is summer solstice. in reality, we are moving into the shadows. the days will now begin to get shorter. and while we worship the light of summer, we often find solace in the shadows.
what summer solstice means to me is that we must truly celebrate and cultivate the light while it is still so close to its peak of strength, but we must know also when to retreat and take our rest. we must consider what it is within us and our lives that we wish to keep illuminated throughout the remainder of the year, and what we will do to nurture and protect that light. what do we want to learn more about? what do we want to keep alive? and what will we do to find the necessary knowledge and sustenance? these are the questions i ask myself as i pass through the threshold into the season of celebration, earth-love, starry nights, swimmy days, campfires, picnics, family, music and the growing dark.
what knowledge do you seek? what do you want to keep alive through the year? what will you do to celebrate and honor the strength of sun, even as it begins to hold itself back?
(btw, the woman lighting the candles above, kate, the hostess of the gathering, has an excellent thought provoking blog. read it here!)