Last Friday, I spent several hours on my favorite island, visiting some of my old haunts. It was the first sunny day since we marked Summer Solstice on our calendars.
I sat under a hawthorn tree at the edge of a vast meadow ringed round by evergreens, and gave thanks for this place of sacred solitude. I was utterly alone (no other humans, I mean!) and felt completely safe and cradled by the love of the island. I cloud-gazed. I listened to the song of red-winged blackbirds. I pulled up a clump of wild garlic and deeply inhaled the pungent scent of its bulbs. I noticed the iridescent wings of dragonflies flashing in the light. I felt the sun on my brow and the breeze on my cheeks. I nibbled on a handful of fresh-picked raspberries from a neighbor's garden. I watched a swallowtail butterfly dance up to the tops of tall cedars then circle back down to the meadow again. I gave thanks for this most holy place and time.
This was my Solstice celebration.
A Blessed Solstice to all, on this longest day of the year.
For the last several years, I have been rising before dawn on Summer Solstice with a few of my island sisters. We go to a beach on the east side of the island to greet the rising sun on the longest day of the year. (The background on the Elder of Water card is from a photo I took on one such Solstice morning.) This year, alas, I did not make it over to the island to spend the night and the sun is up long before the first ferry arrives at 6 AM. So my island sisters held me there in spirit, and a couple of hours ago they wrote to me:
"We made it to the beach in time to imagine the sun rising as we couldn't see that ball of fire. We sang and acknowledged our gratitude/thanks to the water with Dr. Emoto's water blessing. We were visited by three oystercatchers, three bald eagles (maybe more), two great blue herons, a kingfisher, purple starfish and a river otter. The beach was beautiful . . . We chose a card, in your honor (your deck of course) . . . it was 'The Wheel' with the trees in all seasons against the day time sky with night sky surrounding the wheel graced with moons, and the text that reminds us to center ourselves. It was a chilly but beautiful Solstice morning."
A true Moment of Grace. How blessed I am to have such friends.
My friend Cate Kerr has been posting photos (no words) for years on Wednesdays. I only copy from the best. :-) From now on, no words on Wednesdays. Just moments of sheer beauty and grace.
I posted this video last year, but I hope you don't mind that I'm posting it again. I had almost forgotten about it myself. I took many of the photos in the slideshow — some show winters on our beloved island, some show the snowstorm in our own backyard last year, and some show the Lucia Parties over the years. Cate Kerr took most of the snowy landscapes. My beloved Pop is the "wise man" on the snowy road, just down from our island house.
This video still touches my heart. We hope it touches yours, too.
A Blessed Solstice to all!
“In the Bleak Midwinter” performed by Craig Olson
Music by Gustav Holst (1906)
Lyrics by Christina Rossetti (1872), revised by Craig Olson (2006)