The Summer Solstice has just passed. It is the longest day of the year and was honored by many cultures throughout history in many ways. Some would hold bonfires, for example, as a way to honor the long amount of sunlight on that day. I think it is kind of nice to honor the rhythms of the earth and nature in some way during the change of seasons.
There are two solstices every year: winter and summer. There are also two equinoxes: autumnal and vernal. The difference between the two is that a solstice is a time where either the day or the night is longer and an equinox means day and night are equal in length. Maybe it would be nice to think about how we can honor mother earth during these changes of season.
For example, what are some ways you could honor the Summer Solstice next year? It does not need to be anything complicated, or even particularly ritualistic. Just think of something to do relating to the change of season like making a fresh fruit salad full of newly available seasonal fruits.
Around this time of year my family has a tradition of making fresh strawberry shortcake with fresh native strawberries, which are something you can only get in early summer. We bake the shortcakes right then and there and make the whipped cream fresh, too. As a vegan, I do not eat the shortcake or the whipped cream, but I do get a nice big bowl of cut up fresh native strawberries. That is the best part anyway, so I am quite satisfied with that!
Another way to honor the new season is to think about what some of your favorite parts of the summer are. Maybe it is cookouts, maybe going to a pool or the beach, maybe it is all the awesome food that becomes available, like fresh corn on the cob. I personally love the fresh nectarines and the aforementioned native strawberries. Mostly though, I am not as fond of summer as I am other seasons because I really hate being hot. That said, summer gives me more times to get together with my family because a lot of our birthdays are in the summer. We also tend to have more get togethers because someone is bound to fire up the grill and make some salad once in a while and we can have a nice evening in someone’s backyard. So even though it is not my favorite, even summer has its good points.
And that brings me to this idea: If you approach even things you may not be all that fond of with an open mind and an attitude of gratitude, it can make them easier to take. Even something that seems less than great can have a few kernels of goodness in it. You never know.
by Julie Morse