Summer solstice. It's a bittersweet time for me. For me, summer solstice itself is a beautiful time. But the fact that the sunlight has reached its peak means that now it will be declining.
The past few years, winters have been times of ill health, of fatigue and dreariness, of living with the constant tension of trying to ward off the cold. Summers in contrast are joyful times of green leaves and bare feet and embracing fresh breezes as they waft across my skin. There is something about the sight of the lush green that opens my heart. I think it has to do with it being a sight that was imprinted upon me when I was young.
This time of year, I enjoy soothing times working in my garden and sitting on my balcony. This time of year, I go to festivals and fireworks and outdoor concerts. This time of year, I see sunlight sparkle on the river.
Summer is a beautiful time for me. Summer is when I can do things outside without being negatively affected by the weather. But some people live in climates where summer is when you have to huddle in the air conditioning all the time, and lack of air conditioning can be fatal, while winter is the time of lovely weather when one can be outdoors.
Just as summer solstice has different meanings for different people, around the world at any given moment, people are in different states. Some are joyous, some are grieving, some are lonely, some are overwhelmed, some are sick, some are strong, some are hopeful, some are hating, some are forgiving.
When we observe the holidays that mark the turning of the year, we are reminded of how things change. I enjoy summer, but it will fade away and leave me cowering in the cold. I cower in the cold, but the warmth will return once again. In the same way, I will experience times full of family and friends, and times alone; times of health and times of illness; times of joy and times of depression; times of financial security and times of poverty.
But there is a difference. The wheel of the year is predictable. We know how long each season will last, and we know that each season that has passed will come again. Life is not like that. Sometimes people are never able to lift themselves out of poverty. Some illnesses never go away. And I don't believe in reincarnation. We only get to go around once, and we don't know how long a ride it will be. Tonight I listened to a CD by Woods Tea Company. Two of their four members have died. Tonight, someone I know witnessed a shooting. I know several people with ongoing illnesses.
What do I want to do while I am blessed to have this limited time on this earth? I want to dance barefoot in the grass. I want to sing at the top of my lungs. I want to laugh with my family and friends. Every moment we can spend with family and friends is to be treasured.
What it boils down to, less poetically, is the same list that I've made many times before: what I want in my life are time spent with the people I like, doing things outdoors, music, and dance/movement (the "/movement" is to include things like Nia, tai chi, and yoga in addition to dance).