Today is the longest of the year in the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice. When I stepped out onto my deck, a small sun greeted me in the form of a Zinnia flower. I have been watching it for several days as it tried to open its bright face to the world. What a perfect day to bloom.
Here, north of the 49th parallel, the solstice lasts a lot longer than it does where I grew up in California, closer to the equator. The winters may be colder up here, but these long days of Light allow the plants to catch up. Everywhere in the woods where I walk, the flowers are blooming and setting seed at a furious pace, getting ready for the fruit-ripening days of summer.
This is the Sun’s triumph of Light over dark, the soul’s illumination over darkness spurred by judgment or discord. Thank you to Apollo, the Greek god whose most important work is to carry the sun across the sky in a chariot pulled by four horses. Another thank you to Mr. Sun, a feature of Vancouver Island’s indigenous culture. Kwak waka’wakw Chief Doug Cranmer (1927 – 2006), from Alert Bay, B.C., describes Mr. Sun as “a little guy who gets up every morning, puts his abalone [shell] earrings on and walks across the sky.” Shine on, Mr. Sun. Shine on.