Thankfully, my smartphone calendar says Summer Solstice is right around the corner. These last few weeks here in western New York have been unseasonably cool and wet. Sometimes I wondered if summer was ever going to come.
Can you imagine what it was like for our ancestors? Damp, cold, standing water in the grasslands, dark days with only a fire for light and warmth? It certainly makes sense that they would create monuments to the Sun, calibrated to align with the Sun on the solstice when the sun is at its highest and the length of the day is longest. How they must have yearned for summer. How they must have watched for the signs of the turning of the seasons.
We do not know all that went on in their celebrations and rituals, but we have plenty of evidence of the importance they bestowed on the date.
Everyone knows about Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain. Many can cite other stone circles and monuments that align to the sun on solstice. Some even continue the traditions of Summer Solstice we believe were practiced so many years ago: bonfires, circle dances, and flower garlands among them.
While few of us will have the chance to visit such monuments on the solstice, we can indeed take pause to celebrate, to walk in nature and show gratitude for the Light and Energy that the Sun brings.
Spend time in the garden or at creek side. Take a book of poems or your journal to a place under your favorite tree. Lie on a float and watch the clouds. Follow the soaring of a hawk or experience the stillness of a heron. There are so many ways to take pause and observe this special day of the year.
In whatever way you choose,
May you find time to honor the Sun which brings us Light and Heat and Fire,
May you offer gratitude to the Sun for bringing Life to Earth,
May your heart open to all that is created by the Sun on any given summer day.