The Poignancy of Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice is the peak of the year, the longest day, the fullness of the light, mid-summer in all its magic.

For me, especially during the twenty-six years I danced the Summer Solstice Long Dance, it has always been a time of celebration, transformation.

The canyons where we danced were glorious in the fullness of summer—the stream loud and full, the aspen leaves shiny-new, the sun hot, the nights chill. We danced two or three days and nights, sunrises and sunsets, blue-grey dawns, long hot afternoons, swift showers, starry nights, rocked in the rhythm of the drum, deep in trance, lost in magic.IMG_1662

There is a poignancy in any peak, because contained in its fullness is the coming down.

The path from the top of the mountain descends. The swing reaches its apex, hangs for a breathless moment, then drops toward earth. Orgasm subsides. The dance ends. The day after Summer Solstice is a just a little shorter.

It is tempting to grieve the loss of the peak, but there is also sweetness in the coming down. The trail descending the mountain is beautiful in the afternoon light, seen from a different perspective than when we climbed. The whoosh of the swing dropping is also thrilling. In the bliss after orgasm, lovers lie close, kiss softly. When the dance ends and the drum stops, there is deep silence accented by bird song, wind sough, the susurration of the stream. After Solstice there are still long summer days ahead.

In this time of fullness, may we rejoice and give thanks to the Sun that gives us life. And may we also let its rays fall between our fingers, not clinging, opening to the sweetness that follows.

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