exquisite midsummer


Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails. Let us rise early and fast, or break fast, gently and without perturbation; let company come and let company go, let the bells ring and the children cry -- determined to make a day of it...Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in....

- Henry David Thoreau -

It must seem like all we do around here is visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden...We do go a lot, it's true. More than half the pleasure of going often is noting what has changed since the last visit, and marking time through those changes.

I love the idea of measuring time in alternative ways, especially in ways that connect us more to the natural world. If you're interested in ways of seeing time through a different lens and slowing everything down just a bit, you might want to take a look at Living in Season, a quarterly magazine from Waverly Fitzgerald, the author of the book Slow Time. Her work elegantly traces seasonal traditions and she shares many wonderful ideas for reclaiming our relationship with time.

Today, I visited the garden carrying with me several years worth of memories from previous visits. Trips to the garden have marked many events in my life, most of them small and subtle, but midsummer at the garden always reminds me of Mela, a very magical lady that I was lucky enough to know when I was younger. I was taking photos in the garden several years ago on the summer solstice, only to find out weeks later that Mela had passed away after a courageous battle with cancer, on that very day.

Solstice celebrations at Mela's were always filled with light, exuberance, delicious food and exquisite beauty. Attending these celebrations opened a window back into an ancient way of marking time by the calendars of the sun and earth that has been largely forgotten. I feel blessed to have shared in reclaiming those traditions, and even though I now live far away from those wooded groves and lush gardens of my youth, I still think of these celebrations as defining experiences in my ever-evolving view of time.

I was also lucky enough to attend the wedding of two dear friends this weekend, and their celebration of love and new beginnings marks a new chapter in my appreciation of the longest days of the year.

How do you celebrate the summer solstice?


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