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Summer Solstice celebration at the Arboretum

by Brian Clarey

When the daylight hours stretch like a yogi going through her paces and the air is imbued with nurturing warmth, when the body flushes with heat and passion and winter’s chill seems as far away as a distant moon’… it is Mother Nature’s longest day and She is at the height of Her power.

In the arboreal cathedral bodies snake down dirt trails, wooden footpaths and concrete walks, gathering in the rotunda of the trees, the rush hour traffic on Wendover reduced to the barest whisper by the import of the event at hand and the harpstrings that wash down from on high like a balm.

There are goddesses, to be sure, and faeries and sprites and more than a few nymphets, with wings spread and charms jangling, painted and adorned to a state of anonymous beauty, some green like saplings and some nobly ripened, showing curves and hard-won wrinkles and bellies big with incubating miracles.

Under the witch hazel tree, hamamelius virginiana, the jugglers and dancers spin and twirl. In a circle off the path the yogis dance through salutations to the sun.

Before the sun dips a didjeridoo calls to the worshippers and the butterflies are released, flittering to the heavens or finding purchase on flowers and leaves of the hydrophytus.

The sun’s tender caress turns to the night’s deep embrace, and when the darkness comes with cooling grace and a gentle breeze stirs the boughs like a breath of life, the drummers create a beat, a rhythm, a pulse.

The dancers make fire’… spinning, spinning’… and the flames don’t burn but they pierce the shadows and play off bronzed skin. The drums crescendo as night falls and the fires burn, and the cheers from the crowd become as one voice, rising like smoke to the heavens.

It is pure. It is solstice. It is summer.

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