06.22.15 Yesterday was the Summer Solstice. The English refer to it as Midsummer, and it’s already here. The word “solstice” has its roots in the Latin word for sun (sol) and sistere, which means to stand still. My sister and niece were visiting from Colorado and we searched the EarthSky blog to find the exact time in which the sun would stand still here at our house on the lake. There was a discussion about the traditional Chinese perspective on Summer Solstice. In that philosophy, Summer is associated with the direction south; the color red; the sound of laughing; the heart organ, the fire element; and a creature called a red phoenix.
At the appointed time in the morning, we went down to the dock to carry out the celebration suggested on the blog. We stood and faced south, “considered the direction of summer” and honored the “southness of the season.” (We threw in a couple of sun salutations because it also happened to be the very first International Yoga Day.) When Don came down in his red bowling jacket, which he’d received as second place finisher in a bike race, we honored our heart organ by hysterically laughing. And, we balanced the fire element when we were splashed by cold lake water on a bumpy boat ride over the waves. We forgot to do something about the red phoenix before it was time for them to fly back home, but it was a splendid way to celebrate Midsummer.
I also follow the blog of an architect in England who lives in his own world in an enchanted way. He described Midsummer ever more poetically than I just did, but I think our sentiments were ultimately just the same:
“It seems so strange that we are on the tipping point of the year…about to softly, slowly, gently tumble towards autumn already. How on earth was that possible? But for now, can we stop the clock, pause for a moment, and reflect on one of the most beautiful, longest, most English of days imaginable?”–Ben Bentreath