It’s been cold and rainy here. Cold is relative. Two months ago I thought 50 degree evenings were crazy warm. It’s always seemed odd to me, a native Minnesotan, that Midsummer comes when it does. Pretty much this marks the beginning of our genuinely hot season.
Karina’s birthday is at the beginning of June and we couldn’t plan her preferred pool party unless we delayed it or held it indoors. Cool isn’t unusual.
Because of everyone’s crazy schedule we’re still delaying her birthday. We managed to all get together this weekend. Karina and I have a deal. I take her out to a high-end dinner for her birthday and she does the same for me.
This year she chose Pittsburgh Blue, a chain steakhouse. It was surprisingly good. The steaks were done to perfection and the seafood we had was also very tasty.
Orion and I also stopped by Gilda’s Club for Friends and Family Day. We’ve been doing this as an annual event, being sure to get our photos taken. Looking at those pictures I note I have a jacket or sweater on in most of them.
Orion brought his drum and we enjoyed a drumming workshop along with visiting. Hoof on the Roof, a folk band, joined us as we finished up drumming. It was a treat to jam with them.
In spite of the cold things are starting to bloom in the garden. I got behind so I still have a few things to plant. I’ve been worried that I’ll lose everything when we start tearing things up to get the remodel going, but I’m afraid we are stalled again. I really don’t want to wait for another year! I miss having a fully functional kitchen.
There are things I’ve been putting off (like a new microwave) in anticipation of getting this all taken care of. It’s frustrating.
Fourth of July is coming up fast and furiously. I’ll probably be off-line, so don’t worry if you don’t see a Monday blog next week. I will try to remember to take some photos.
Maybe parades and fireworks will fill my page. Maybe flowers and wildlife will inspire me. Maybe I’ll remember to take pictures of the family. Fingers are crossed for a fun filled, good weather, holiday.
Previous Midsummer Posts:
Midsummer – apparently I’m not very creative with titles at this time of year!
Charleston – I haven’t posted about Philandro Castile. It’s too close to home, too horrible, and I’m not the one. But I will say Black Lives Matter, because they should and it’s pretty clear that they don’t. I will say it’s important to remember.
The summer solstice is called midsummer. I’ve always wondered why. To me this feels like the beginning of summer. Here it’s come in like a rushing train. I’ve barely turned off the heat (nights in the 50’s at the beginning of the month). Now it’s in the 90’s with humidity.
This is the season of weeding. My weeds are all out of control. There are several beds I just didn’t get to and more I’ve not kept up with. Seems my other “projects” are conspiring against me. Or maybe the weather, it’s been rainy, hasn’t suited when I’ve had time. Or maybe I’ve got the midsummer all I want to do is sit in a hammock and read blues.
The change in light (the summer solstice is the longest day of the year) and the changing temperatures have totally disrupted my sleep schedule. Left to my own devices this time of year I’d be sleeping through the heat of the day and up all night. Unfortunately I don’t live in that world.
This is the pause after the haying, after the planting, before the big harvests come in. As I said earlier, weed season. It’s also summer salad season. I’ve made baked beans. I’ve made potato salad. I’ve got greens growing in a planter. I’m anticipating tomatoes that taste like something. I didn’t know if I’d be able to garden this year, but I’ve got a lot of pots around the house. I just have to be diligent about watering.
Orion and I went with friends to see Shakespeare in the Park. A Midsummer Night’s Dream seemed a fitting way to celebrate the season. Perhaps it is the season to dream the dreams, summer love, vacation. Or perhaps it is time to waken and make those dreams come true.
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.
Wm Shakespeare “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
The summer solstice will soon be upon us and it is also the week of the new moon. It seems fitting somehow to return to Shakespeare.
I’ve always found it odd that the solstice’s are “mid-summer and mid-winter” but that they also the official start of the season. It’s a confusion of science, climate, farming and mythology. Those of you who are out haying this week surely understand the feeling of the solstice being midsummer. Those of you with school aged children are just starting the season out and already counting the days until it’s back to school.
When I was a child midsummer was marked, not so much by the solstice specifically, but by the opening date of the municipal pool. (Usually the same week that summer “officially” began.) I had swimming lessons in the morning and then time for a quick lunch before the pool opened to the public. We literally spent all day in the water.
I was a theater kid. I did plays in school and went to any puppet show or children’s theater production I could get to. Those were the days when our local children’s theater company did a summer production in a tent. It was like going to the circus without the smell and with a real story line. I loved it and was incredibly disappointed when they moved the program indoors and then lost the funding.
Midsummer Night was the first “grown-up” theater production I ever saw. It was my first time at the Guthrie. I went with my Jr. High School. Technically this was a field trip for the 8th and 9th graders over 15. I was not only in 7th grade but young for my class at only 12. Luckily I had a friend in one of the upper grades who was too sick to attend. (I think he broke a leg and got an infection) so I got permission to take his ticket and tag along. I was truly enchanted.
All of those memories serve as color and background to my understanding of midsummer as a Wiccan Sabbat. A high holiday on the calendar that I find gets marked in very odd ways. I have done midsummer rituals based on Shakespeare, inviting the fairies to come romp and do mischief. I have done midsummers that were more about the time in the pool than the ritual. It’s an odd holiday because it’s too hot to be serious and too important not to take seriously.
The summer solstice is the longest day of the year. From this point onward our days get shorter and our time in the backyard without the arrival of dusk and mosquitos more limited. Often the mythology around the Sabbat involves the honoring of the sun at the height of its power. The celebration of sun worshipers around the world. It’s a very inclusive, a rumpus with roaring and sometimes gnashing teeth. A celebration of “Wild Things.”
June is commonly the wedding month. So in mythologies where the God and Goddess are a more traditional couple sometimes the midsummer celebration becomes a celebration of their union. These rites range from very formal affairs to (rumor has it) occasional orgies. The people who love to decorate the space, make bowers of flowers and deck themselves out with garlands and ribbons get a lot out of this kind of celebration.
The full moon in June is the honey-moon (pun or maybe entomology intended.) The brewers celebrate this Sabbat in fine form. The mead making parties are quite popular and so are the parties where everyone opens a bottle from the year before and compares results.
I think my ideal summer solstice celebration might just be sitting in a pool with a glass of mead making a toast to the sun.