The Solstice of Summer: 2011

Mid-Summer                                                                    Waning Garlic Moon

A favorite website of mine, Pip Wilson’s Almanac, comes out of Australia and reminded me of this illustration with his cheery, Happy Winter Solstice.  Yes, indeed, cross the equator and the seasons switch, while we have the Summer Solstice, they have Winter.  I’m excited about our cruise for many reasons, but a particular one is that we will cross the equator and enter the realm of season’s opposite to ours here in the Northern Hemisphere.  Thus, we will cruise through Chile and Argentina in their spring time heading toward summer, while our home here in Andover experiences fall heading toward winter.

Here at 45 degrees north we celebrate now the middle of summer, the moment when, usually, our temperatures have begun to heat up.  Not this year.  As Pip Wilson points out, today is not mid-summer, that comes on June 24th, St. John’s Day, which is the traditional sabbat.  That is the day celebrated in Shakespeare’s “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream.”

The Solstice, on the other hand, is an astronomical holiday, that moment when sun stands as high in the sky as it will all year.  Now we celebrate the longest day, the longest proportion of light to dark.  In Australia they celebrate the reverse, the shortest day and the longest night.

You may celebrate this on the 21st, the 22nd, or the 23rd since they all have the same long day.  Only on the 24th do days begin their long, slow descent toward the longest night of the year.

This is the midst of the growing season though the year has been chilly and generally wet so far.

I always take time around now to celebrate what grows well for me right now and what needs attention to move toward harvest.  There is, still, that novel out there, which needs lots of attention.  My work with Ovid has grown a good deal in the last few months and will benefit from yet more time.  The Sierra Club demands more and more of my time and my hope is that over the next few months we can push our legislative efforts into greater and greater strength.  I’ve been concerned for a while that we’ve been punching below our weight and it’s my feeling that the environment and the state need us at our best.  This is a slow time for tours at the MIA, but it is a time when those of who give tours can concentrate on getting the best resources made available to us.

What is it that grows in your life right now?  What needs more attention?  What has a good start toward the harvest?  Take the time to sit with a plant or two in your immediate surrounding and watch how they grow.  Become patient with yourself as a plant is patient in its growth over a season.

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