Firefly moon (part 2)
WHAT MAKES HIGH SUMMER?
LIGHT - Maybe it is the all-penetrating light which comes at you from every direction. It surrounds you, reflecting from the dark, rich green of leaf, off branch and twig, rock and sky. This light is the light of Life because this is the season of life, when everything is growing, growing, growing and all of this fecundity is fed by, nurtured by, loved by - light. We in the northern hemisphere are closest to our very source of life and light - the Sun - in this time and because of that its rays beat down incessantly, dominating our existence much more obviously than in other seasons.
PLANTS - Maybe it is the incredible plant-growth. While it is true that the sun is setting a little earlier each day now and rising a tad later than at the recent Summer Solstice, you’d be hard put to prove that to any and all of the creatures and plants in our neck of the woods. All the plants, shrubs and trees are still reaching as high into the sky as they can, turning raw sunlight (energy) into life (true magic of the most powerful, everyday kind), all the while simultaneously digging their roots as deep into the earth as they possibly can. How much we are (or should be) like them - heads in the sky and feet on the earth - true Stewards of the Earth. Making hay while the sun shines, indeed.
ANIMALS - Maybe it is the out-of- control animal life. Everywhere you look there is life - birds cavorting, flying, doing their thing. Bald Eagles swooping down on fish, which the streams and ponds are thick with. Intrepid, tiny Hummingbirds bravely fending off other avians five times their size. White-tail Deer fawns and Black Bear cubs frolicking. Millions upon millions of rodents feeding on plants and insects, in turn being preyed upon by hawk, coyote, fox and owl. The air itself is thick with the incredible richness of summer insect life. Sometimes it seems that all those bugs are just floating on the thick, super-dense summer air.
HEAT - Maybe it is the overwhelming heat, surrounding us, bathing us in its humid breath. This is the very breath of Life, infusing all around it with the inherent richness of this time, imparting the water-wealth of the earth even into the air itself, nurturing so many plants and creatures with its great power. Walking through the thickness that is our summer air can sometimes seem more like wading. It is so easy to break a sweat now. Any exertion will do it. Some (granitic?) rocks will sweat as well, and they seem to be just sitting there! I understand. To watch the humid air rise after a warm summer rain is to observe the Earth-Mother exhaling, creating the very essence of life.
SOUND - Maybe it is the cacophony of multitudinous sounds. The myriad birds who start their day (and ours, as well) so much earlier than the rest of the year. The incredible chorus of seasonal Cicada, Cricket and Katydid, joyously piercing the air with their incessant, rhythmic calls, in their yearly mating ritual. Such rich sounds, pitched just high enough for all to hear, but not so high as to bother (almost) anyone - like millions of little bells ringing, rasping rhythms of foreleg rubbed on abdomen. Probably directly correlating to the human body-language of the wink of an eye or subtle turning up of the corner of a mouth or eyebrow.
WATER - Maybe it is the clear, fresh water. The joy of feeling the cool water wrap around you after walking on a hot day, covering your entire body, trying to invade each and every pore. To lie suspended on the surface, relaxed, knowing you’ve returned to where you came from - in the very life-blood of the Mother. For now, you can let the stream take you for a moment, drifting along in time, ‘til your body touches the stony bottom waking you from your summer reverie, to go back to the seasonal heat once more - but refreshed.
EARTH - Maybe it is how the rich, brown earth feels on bare feet walking, directly communicating with the earth in some ancient way, with nothing between you and her. Summer is a time to FEEL the light around us, to FEEL the life surrounding us, to FEEL the very air, even to FEEL the intensity of the season’s sounds. Such a visceral, in your face - not subtle by any means - intense time of year. I always love it and never want it to end, but I know it must - in order to come back again. ALL - Maybe it is all of these things - the light, the heat, the rain, the fauna and flora of midsummer, the clear, cool water and rich, dark soil (itself brimming with bacterial-, microbial-, and insect-life). Perhaps it is all of these things that - together - add up to the mid-point of of our summer, the Peak of Life, as it were. Summer memories are shared all the rest of the year, a kind of group “thought- and feeling-harvest” that we can glean and remember to help warm us in the cold season to come, as we all swing around the Sun on this incredible journey - together. Thank you all for sharing it with me.
DO, DO, DO - Since everyone tends to want to do everything at Midsummer, here’s some suggestions: the Maurice B. Hinchey Catskills Visitor Center (CVC) is the ideal introduction to, and jumping-off place for, exploring the Catskills. It is located at 5096 Rt. 28 in Mt. Tremper and has a host of information for the visitor and its staff is extremely knowledgeable about everything Catskills. Also, check out the extraordinary Ashokan RailTrail (ashokanrailtrail.com) nearby. For more on the Hudson Valley I highly recommend the entertaining and informative insideandoutupstateny.com .
Please Summer safely and well.
Take Care, “Ranger” Dave Holden
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