Today is the first day of summer, the longest day of the year. Today our half of the world (because, of course, it is winter in the other half) is full of life and color. Everything has bloomed, everything is green and growing. The seeds have been sown for the harvest to come, and now it is time to play in between the work of planting and the work of reaping.
While I never got things planted properly in my garden outside, I did plant some seeds in my family and my soul this year. Kender’s dog is now funded, and we just need to wait for the class and make his video for the trainer. I have moved on to priesthood in my church, and my spiritual life is blossoming as my daily practices sink in and expand. We have started a new curriculum this year for our homeschool, one that I hope will help the children grow and think even more independently and critically while encouraging their sense of art and beauty.
At summer solstice, or Litha as we call it, we measure all the kids on the wall in the hallway. We’ve done this every Litha since we bought this house eight years ago, and the kids fight and tease each other all year about who will have grown the most. In other years, we have picked strawberries from a local u-pick farm, but since that hasn’t worked out the past few years, now we buy as many as we can and eat them and make strawberry shortcakes with them. Today we are also preparing for our Litha ritual at church tomorrow, practicing our chants and cooking up a storm for the feast afterward. It’s time to take stock of clothing as camp time approaches, time to pay attention to how much the children have grown out of their clothes and wonder where all the socks have gone.
But the world is balanced on a cusp today. We are at the top of the hill of light, in a lovely picnic spot with beautiful views, but now we will start traveling back down into the darkness again. Today, the Holly King will defeat the Oak King. For the rest of this year, the days will get shorter, the nights will get longer, the wind will get colder. All that we have planted for the year will be harvested, and everything will die or go to sleep for the winter. Just as we celebrate the returning of the light at Yule, so today we recognize its departure. All that shines will fade away, and all that lives will die.
So today we will play, and sing, and celebrate the life we have. Blessed be, and happy solstice!