Posts Tagged ‘Solstice’

Today marks the summer solstice.  A quick Google search reveals that in purely astronomical terms, this means the sun will be at its highest point in the sky for the whole year at noon today and that this is the longest day (and conversely the shortest night) of the year.  It also marks a turning point of sorts.  The days from this point on will grow shorter and the dark hours longer until the winter solstice, which marks the shortest day and the longest  night. 

Pondering this today (a girl can’t write legal memos all day long– honestly), I found the cyclical nature of this astronomical occurrence somewhat comforting.  No matter what is going on around you, whether it be in your personal life or things observed in the world at large, this sun cycle stays constant. Just as it has for thousands of years.  A reminder that days, even years, go on one after the other — each one marking a new beginning and reminding us that we (and especially our perceived problems) are a very small part of a larger force in the universe. 

A quick Google search also reveals that I am certainly not the first to ponder the deeper meanings of this cycle.  In fact, different religions and cultures across the world have ascribed important meaning to this day and the cycle on a grander scheme for thousands of years.  One of the more notable examples is at Stonehenge, whose main axis was designed to line up perfectly with the sun rising on summer solstice (I told you, it really is impossible to write legal memos all day…thank you Wikipedia).  In any case, I think I will take my camera out tonight and attempt to capture this solstice sun on its way out.  Until then, a poem in honor of the solstice. 

The Summer Day

– Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


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