She cries: Summer Solstice in Scotland

She cries: Summer Solstice in Scotland June 21, 2013

Early this morning was the moment of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. Happy Solstice one and all!

The view from my office window earlier today. Yes, that is a hawthorn covered in ‘May’ blossom.

This past week has held more sunny days than I think we’ve had all year so far in my neck of the woods. Usually, Oengus shows us his glowing face from mid-April to the summer solstice, off and on. This year, as far as the hawthorns are concerned, it may as well still be Beltaine. Instead of spring, we’ve had a protracted winter, which is only now warming into something more seasonable.

And yet, and yet: last night was still the shortest night of the year. Dusk merged into dawn, with the darkness of night forgotten. And yesterday, as her son the sun reached the height of his powers, the Cailleach cried as she always does – heavy, solid raindrops falling from a leaden sky, which moments before had been brilliant blue.

Most years, she’s angry, and the heavens shake with her thunder. This year, she was gentler: no noise, no fury, just her tears falling. Perhaps she was mollified, after a spring in which she clearly won the fight with Bride over who had dominion over the earth and its weather. Long may she continue to be gentle.

Later today and over this weekend, I’ll mark the motion of the northern hemisphere of the Earth as it starts to shift its tilt away from the sun. But for now I’m enjoying today, for its light, and its relative warmth, its insects and birds, its flowering, its hope.

Whether the sun shows us his golden face today, or hides behind clouds, may we all shine, in mind and heart and will, and make glowing summer of one another’s lives.

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