Today in my part of the world, it is the first day of Summer and therefore the Summer Solstice. So today I thought I would combine my love of the Summer Solstice with Ten Things of Thankful, that Lizzi over at Considerings has going on every weekend. Why not give her a visit and maybe even join in! Or read a whole bunch of thankfulness and feel better.
So much to be thankful for! I’m sure everyone can think of a few? Right? Right! So let’s get going shall we?
1. Summer Solstice. The longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. I love the long days. Here where I am in Alberta, the daylight can last till 11pm. For some reason I love that. I like to get things done during daylight. With the longer days I seem to be able to get much more accomplished. Or maybe it’s all in my mind. Either way, I love it. So it’s all good.
2. Midsummer Day, near the solstice, was said to make old people look younger. It was also thought that walking barefoot in the dew would keep one’s skin from getting chapped. Hell if I would have known that sooner I would have taken advantage of that! But, I’m ok with how I look. I don’t look my age and I certainly don’t feel my age, especially lately so I’m thankful for that.
3. The summer solstice, was a time to celebrate renewal, life, fertility, and the potential for a good harvest. It was celebrated through outdoor feasts with singing, dancing, and bonfires. I’m all for celebrating life. So let’s dance, sing and make a big bonfire! Well, ok, or just sit back with a favorite brew and relax. I’m thankful that I can do that. Relax, enjoy life, because life is good right now.
4. Midsommardagen is Sweden’s traditional midsummer festival, observed throughout the country and in full bloom during the month of June. On Midsummer’s Eve, which is always on a Friday, young girls place nine different flowers under their pillows to dream of their future husbands, while on Midsummer’s Day, flower wreaths are worn while men, women and children dance around the maypole. When I was young I never dreamed of who I might marry. I never thought I would. I didn’t want kids, I didn’t want traditional marriage. I always was the odd one out. At the time when I was growing up, there wasn’t a lot of options for women. You either got married and had kids, like my sister did. Or you tried to have a career. I did neither. I went exploring life, I traveled a long ways from home. I made mistakes and corrected them. I was my own person. I”m thankful for that time to grow, to see life and become the person I am.
5. The summer solstice was especially important to the ancient Egyptians since it signaled the annual flooding of the Nile River. To keep track of the day, the pyramids were built so that the solstice sunset fell exactly between two of them when viewed from the Great Sphinx. I can understand that, with all the rain we’ve had in these parts, I wish there would have been something to warn us if there was any flooding. But I’m thankful there wasn’t anything major. My front yard was flooded, but the house sets up high, so do danger of it flooding.
6. Perhaps the most remarkable solstice landmark in the U.S. is The Medicine Wheel, located in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains. Built several hundred years ago by an unknown Plains tribe, the arrangement of stones is perfectly in line with the solstice’s sunrise and sunset each year. I’m thankful for traditions, new or old that celebrate nature and everything in its glorious splendor.
7. New York welcomes summer with a collective ohm in the middle of Times Square. On June 21, thousands of participants will roll out their yoga mats at The Crossroads of the World to celebrate the longest day of the year with an all-day yoga fest. Free classes will be held from 5:30AM to 9:15PM. I’m thankful for easy exercise. I’m not into yoga, but I do believe we all need some sort of exercise in our lives. I’m just thankful I still can do it.
8. Since 1974, Santa Barbara, Calif., puts on an extravagant summer solstice parade, complete with over-the-top floats, flamboyant costumes, brilliant dance ensembles, creative street performers and eclectic music. But unlike other parades, this one is about getting back to basics; even the floats are man-powered. This year’s theme, “Creatures,” promises not to disappoint. I’m thankful for people coming together for a good time. For thinking of these wonderful things to do and celebrate. For good old-fashioned imagination.
9. Sunrise Celebration is an ethical living and organic arts and music festival powered by 100 percent renewable energy. Held on an organic farm in England, the festival has a site-wide organic food and drink policy and promotes a positive feeling of heartfelt gratitude. It’s a celebration of summertime, community and creativity, featuring 13 music stages, performances, healing arts, crafts, talks and workshops. This makes me thankful for people who want to have a better healthier life. Not only for themselves, but for the planet too. Because this old planet needs our help people, no doubt about it.
10. Pull from any of the above traditions or start your own: Pick wildflowers, tend to your garden, watch the sunrise, have a picnic, light a sacred fire, and gather with friends and family on the longest day of the year. I”m thankful for good friends. Now and in the future who will be there for gatherings of talk, laughter and good times.