A More Common Flower at Solstice

Somehow it’s already the Summer Solstice (in the northern hemisphere), when traditions prompt us to celebrate midsummer‘s fertility with festivals and bonfires. Earth’s rotational axis on this day tilts at its greatest incline toward the star that it orbits – our sun. It is the year’s longest day and shortest night.

Usually, fall and winter are where my sympathies lie: the cool, dark, and damp. But summer enchants me. The sheer gorgeousness of nature in its fecundity. The nonchalance of birds daily chasing down bugs and beetles. And such birds! Towhees, chickadees, white-crowned sparrows; the dance of cedar waxwings as they wait and swoop in turn down to the birdbath, wings fluttering amidst countless burgeoning blossoms. Every flower has beauty, but often I forget the startling forms of the more humble blooms sprouting from plants that feed us, like onions and artichokes. In the process of growing, these remarkable organisms turn sunlight into their own nutrients through photosynthesis, flower, pollinate by bees and other pollinators, and go to seed. Thus begins again nature’s constant cycle of rejuvenation. 

Currently there’s much sadness in the world: suicide in the news, some dear friends’ personal struggles. I’m constantly reminded of my mother’s painful battle with mental illness, and her strength in persevering through it, not only to survive but to teach me to take succor in nature. I imagine how she might have drawn comfort from the joy of gardening on a cool, rainy day when plants can benefit from soft rainwater; the smell of soil and the feel of digging fingers into it; of turning rich compost crawling with worms, ready to nourish plantings. It is she who taught me gratitude for such moments, for having loved ones to share this with, and it is her memory I share it with every day. Happy Solstice!


About thislittleplot

Writer, hiker, loafer
This entry was posted in Birds, Family, Friends, Garden, Mental Health, Nature, Seasons and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to A More Common Flower at Solstice

  1. Mike Freeman says:

    Great post, Irene. Love the progression from straight nature description to the painful and poignant, all balmed a bit by nature. Hope you’re very well and finding comfort where you can. Never thought things could get this dark. Be well and keep writing.

    • Thanks so much, Mike. I so appreciate our writing friendship, and your writing is always inspiring to me. Appreciate your reading, as always, and hope you and your family are well and that your own writing is going well also! We must keep hope “green” and alive, as well.

  2. marmysz says:

    I also find some comfort in the natural cycles of growth and decay. Schopenhauer and the Buddha claimed that humans – because we have the ability to reflect on our condition – suffer more than any other creature in existence. But reflection also gives us the chance to understand our suffering and realize that it is part of nature’s cycles as well.

    Thanks for this great post that got my day off to a reflective start!

    • Thanks so much; I really appreciate your reading and your thoughtful comments. Hope you both are doing well! The Buddhist tenets of suffering coming from attachment, as well as viewing suffering as part of a cycle of ebbs and flows, is also very heartening for me; thanks for the reminder.

  3. owlwoman says:

    Happy Solstice!

    Another beautiful post. I am also a Winter person, but have been enjoying the colour of Summer.

  4. Chris Stevens says:

    You are so fortunate if you get to enjoy cedar waxwings on a daily basis! I’ve only seen them twice, and briefly. Spotted towhees and juncoes are my favorite at the birdbath, reminding me to refill it daily.

    • I love juncos! Think we saw some when you guys visited with us. Those naughty waxwings eat the berries of our local privet hedges, then poop up a storm in the yard(s), thus encouraging them to grow everywhere (even where they are not wanted). But, who wouldn’t adore those gorgeous creatures. Hope you both are well, and enjoying your own garden! Miss & love you.

  5. utherben says:

    Finally got a few restful minutes to read your post – lovely, thoughtful writing, as always. I too prefer the cooler months (tho as we all know, I hate shoveling snow!) but I’ve been finding a lot of solace in the garden this year as well. Happy belated Solstice!

  6. Shonna says:

    Lovely post Irene, thank you. I’ve been lost in the land of Atlanta visiting my sister. Painful to see & feel her struggle with her illness. Heartbreaking. Solstice came and went as I was wrapped in sorrow, but I never let her see my eyes water up. So happy to be home now in the Puget Sound and back to my garden, where I will cry freely. Rough times indeed. Sigh.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your sister! I can imagine how painful that must be, but I’m sure your visit brought her some solace, and I’m glad you’re back home where you can hopefully get your own solace in the garden! xoxoxo

  7. Reblogged this on Kitchen Scenes and commented:
    Always uplifting. Irene Bernard’s “This Little Plot.”

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