*I don’t usually post twice in one day. But, it’s the Summer Solstice, so I had a little extra daylight! Hope you enjoy!
I popped out of bed early this morning, so I could get a walk with the dog before the day turned molten hot. I always enjoy my walks, but on the Summer Solstice, I feel an extra sweet anticipation. This day marks a change. The days are no longer slowly stretching toward summer; instead, we have reached the pinnacle, the 24-hour-period where we experience the most daylight during the year.
I grew up a sun worshipper. I couldn’t wait for summer, for long days on the beach, sea breezes and bare feet on damp sand. I lived on the North Carolina coast when I was in high school and returned there every summer after school to visit my parents. So, it’s not surprising, I suppose, that I would be drawn to the Summer Solstice.
But there’s more to it. I like order, and somehow the Summer Solstice is one of the four dates that divides the year into equal parts (Summer Solstice, Autumnal Equinox, Winter Solstice and Vernal Equinox). I was born on the Autumnal Equinox, so I learned of it early and felt, as a nature lover, that it was a part of who I was.
It’s hard to explain what that means exactly, other than to say I feel the seasons deep within me. My spirit is attuned to the natural rhythms of the world we live in. That’s probably true for most poets and many writers. I feel as if nature speaks to me. I sense it as I move through my life, and I miss it if I’m inside too long.
That’s probably why I insisted we live in the wood in a house with lots of windows. And I wouldn’t let my husband cut down many trees. We had to cut a few to make room for our house, and I felt a searing in my body when the blade sawed through their trunks.
I feel as if the Summer Solstice has lessons to teach me each year. I can’t always wrap them up in a nice, neat package. But I like to clear a space in my day, so I can simply be outside and listen.
Truth be told, I always grieve a bit after the Summer Solstice. Even though we still have the bulk of summer to celebrate, knowing the daylight is slowly slipping away makes me sad. It signifies change. And change can be hard. I like my routines, and when life gradually shifts into something less recognizable, it’s not all that comfortable.
Today is #TheLongestDay, a day set aside to honor caregivers who have long days every day. My life is lighter now, but my mother had Alzheimer’s for 14 years, so my heart can’t help but be aligned with these caregivers. Also, my mother’s birthday is next week, so she is present in my thoughts, maybe even more than usual.
Maybe the Summer Solstice is about cupping our hands, so we can hold both the intense joy and the soul-shredding grief. A day to pause in the middle, where the sun is not stretching or shrinking, but simply being its bright self, burning to its fullest capacity.
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A new thing has been stirring inside me. I’m not exactly sure what it is. A need for change or growth perhaps?
A few weeks ago, I threw myself into a gardening project. I looked around my yard and realized that it no longer brought me joy. Not only that, it made me want to avert my eyes and turn away, in shame. Why?
In honor of Mother’s Day, I am sharing a piece I wrote about my mom. Happy Mother’s Day to all!
Around Father’s Day last year, I went digging through some old photos, and I posted a picture of my father from my wedding. I didn’t give it a thought, until I found this similar photo of my mother from the same time and realized I had never posted it in honor of Mother’s Day. It got me thinking. Why?
It’s a rare opportunity when you get to honor your mentor, who is alive and well, still reading poetry and teaching at the age of 84. This, after a bout of lung cancer and dealing with chemo and radiation, which makes it all the more meaningful.
April is National Poetry Month, a perfect time to reminisce over my early days as a poet and the gifts I’ve received from Tony Abbott. I spent those days searching for the next line that would move me deeply, digging into my past, roaming beyond the ragged edges of my heart, seeking something bright and unexpected – the sun rising over a new land created through language.
In short, I wanted to be broke open and reformed – again and again.
On the Ides of March, there was a book launch party for The Beach Poems. I started the day fearful that it would be an embarrassment, that so few people would come that the bookstore would lose money and the kind staff who supported this event would never want me to show my face there again. This is what the mind does – spiral and spiral until we are cringing at our own unworthiness.
Fortunately, I was blessed to have an incredibly supportive core of women, part of the CWC-N board who assured me not only that they would be there (they put on the book launch party and made the entire thing a piece of cake, so that I could sweep in and not lift a finger), but that no matter who showed up, they were looking forward to an afternoon of sharing time together, listening to my poems and celebrating our love of all things literary.
Why is caregiving the loneliest journey? It occurred to me after posting the umpteenth photo from my trip to Florida why I feel the need to share my joy over and over again. I forget that some of my current friends didn’t know me when my mother had Alzheimer’s. So, I’ll share a little backstory about my caregiving journey.
I was in my early 30s when Mom first showed signs of the disease. It felt like my legs were cut out from under me. I had no clue how to handle a mother who was slowly spiraling into confusion. Add to that the fact that I had a series of miscarriages at the same time. These things made me question everything in my life.