I sit here writing in the sunshine of my little garden. It is not beautiful or even very productive yet, but it is happy little place and I am learning that that is enough for today.
Monday was summer solstice.
It’s a day I always itch to celebrate. There’s something about nature turning, reaching its fullness, telling us to savour these long sunny days, to saturate ourselves in fleeting warm rays and roll around in the violent greens. Because winter is coming and we will go from running and playing to sitting, risking a quick dash from car to door. We will move slowly once again, reach for our coats, knitting, a warm cup to bring us comfort. But this long day of light is a timely reminder to dance, to play, to soak, marinade in abundance, colour and beauty for as long as it lasts.
So I always mean to have a party. Come June each year I have a bevy of plans rumbling round the back of my mind of who to invite, what I might read to mark the day or perhaps I could find a babysitter who would let us out way past bedtime. Could we cycle to the coast to toast the ebbing light? However, none of these ever come to fruition because I do what I do every single year. I get the date wrong. Seriously, every flippin’ year I think it’s on the 23rd of June.
So Monday night, I’d locked up, face washed, jammies on, Jayber gently dozing on the other side of the bed. I mumbled something, mostly to myself about how light it still was and Jayber said the fateful words,
‘Well, it is the longest day.’
‘WHAT?! No, no it can’t be – it’s on WEDNESDAY. Noooooooo.
– Come on, we have to do something.’
Jayber risked opening an eye to see how serious I was. The eye opening was taken as a fair indication that he couldn’t be that tired. I sealed the deal by mentioning wine and next thing you know, there we are at 11 o’clock sitting at the bottom of the garden in our jammies, drinking wine by the light of a couple of garden candles I found in the back of a cupboard, eating stale tortilla chips.
We whispered and supped and christened the pipe Aaron bought Jayber, until the light was as gone as it could be this far north. Venus was out, a lone star twinkled and it was good to put the world to rights as only Jayber and I can. To bless the light that pushes itself so far into the darkness only once a year and to remember how blessed we are.
I’ve great plans to do the same thing next year, perhaps ditch the jammies (for CLOTHES, we’re not doing a proper pagan celebration [ yet] ) and get better snacks. In the meantime I will bask and delight in the light that gives me pink cheeks, dirty/happy/sleepy little boys and a garden that whispers the promise of a full belly.