Solstice: abundance and light

Flowers from our Pokeberry Pines yard on June 19th

Summer Solstice – the longest daylight day of the year here in the Northern hemisphere. The celebration and season of sun, warmth, fire, creativity, growth, and abundance. It only takes one step or one look outside our door to realize the truth of it. There is no denying it is the height of summer, the pinnacle of abundance in our woods and yard and gardens.

The summer flowers are at their peak – black-eyed Susans, Gallardia, anise hyssop, passionflower, snapdragons, yarrow, purple coneflower, bee balm – oh the bee balm!

Some vegetables and herbs are ripe and ripening, tasty and abundant – tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, basil, parsley, sage, thyme, lavender – while others are flowering and beginning to sprawl – butternut squashes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes. Fresh food and herbs bring joy and nourishment to every meal in summer.

The sunflowers are beginning to peak out from their green folds as goldfinches, house finches, phoebes, downy woodpeckers, Carolina wrens, tufted titmice, summer tanagers, ovenbirds, and more grace us with their presence, antics, and song.

The sunflowers are beginning to open

Dragonflies hunt by day while bats dart about in the early morning and dusky evenings. Fireflies light up the yard and treetops each night, and the warmth of summer wraps us in its bold embrace. While the world at large feels chaotic and scary, we are grateful to bask in the quiet delights of our gardens and thank the sun for its warming energy.

A few days ago we had a short, fierce thunderstorm roll through. Just as it arrived, we watched our trees whipping in the wind, hearing them crackle to near breaking points. Leaves and branches flew, and our power went out for 16 hours, and a couple of the neighbor’s small trees fell across our deer fence. But while it created some brief inconvenience for us, the storm also left us with gifts – some much-needed rain, downed pine needles for tea, green sweet gum balls for medicine, and loosed mimosa flowers for a sweet-scented bath to remind us to slow down, feel the power of the sun, and find the light among the darkness during this Solstice season.

Mimosa flowers fallen from the tree after a storm…

So, come on and celebrate the Solstice in your own way, in your own space – light a candle, build a fire, watch the sunrise and sunset, offer your thanks, eat a blueberry – but bask in the warmth of summer and the gift of light, for tomorrow the days begin their journey back into darkness as our cycle of seasons continues. Happy Solstice, all!

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