Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere: Summer Solstice

rosella and linden on beach1WMIt is Midsummer. For me this time of year will always mean hot steamy days, afternoon storms, grabbing swims in pools, creeks and beaches, spraying each other with the garden hose or spray bottles, feeling sticky from layers of sun cream, sweaty from hats, sleeping with legs hanging out of the sheets, battling mozzies in the bedroom at night, lawn mowers going every weekend, listening to the sometimes deafening chorus of summer insects, cricket on the radio, sunburn, homemade ice blocks, tinkling of ice cubes in glasses, ginger beer, vowing never to eat that much on Christmas day ever again …

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How do you relate to the power of the sun at this time of year? I am awed by the power of the sun. I don’t mind the heat but being so fair skinned I am afraid to spend too long outside. The sun bites me and I like to keep a respectful distance between us. I have to cover up just to hang out the washing. My son, after running about for two weeks on holidays, now has three times as many freckles on his face, my daughter’s hair is shining golden and my little one hardly ever wears clothes at all unless she goes outside and then I do my best to cover her up.

This weather has dictated a new rhythm for us: we are up early (5am!) because it is so hot and the sun gets up early.  We eat less and drink more. Our drink bottles are our constant companions and we embrace salads and raw foods for our meals. We go out and about, play and visit and do anything we have to outside before 10am, and then come inside or play in the shade and have some creative quiet time until the afternoon when we burst outside again with renewed energy. It is an interesting stop/start kind of season for us … a mixture of almost frenzied activity followed by complete stillness. Quite different to midwinter when I tend to plod along slowly and steadily. As hard as I do find the heat and humidity I do embrace this obvious seasonal shift.

Today is actually the Summer Solstice – the day when the sun gives us the longest day and the shortest night. It’s the pause before the sun begins its dance away from the Earth, bringing us the cooler weather.  Solstice hasn’t previously been a big part of my family celebrations until recently, and this year I’ll be celebrating both Solstice and Christmas – as well as Advent! Quite different celebrations each of them … but somehow this year it all fits.faerie ring1WM

I’ve been talking to my children about Solstice, and the cycle of the sun for the last week or so, and inspired by my friend Oakwillow this year we invited the Solstice Faeries to come and dance in our garden tonight. We had such a delightful time creating a ring for the faeries to come and dance in. So much thought went in to thinking of what sort of things would invite the faeries in – and where they might like to dance. In the end the spot we decided on was the bean tepee – and then the Christmas Tree was stripped of all golden and yellow ornaments, which then decorated the tepee. Rainbows were added in case the Rainbow Faeries wanted to come and dance with the Fire Faeries and Sun Faeries, although actually I think the only ones who have turned up are the Rain Faeries. I am sure that each of the two beans that have grown on this bean tepee are feeling pretty special at the moment.

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 … fire fairies come to us …

… and the fire fairies come …

…bringing golden light from the sun …

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A ring made, a chant sung, and a lengthy call to the Fire Faeries by my daughter (including an eloquent request to let us see them), candles lit and then we crept away to keep watch and see when they might arrive. A vigil was kept from the cubby house, the verandah and through the kitchen window and the kids are SURE they’ve seen some flashing movement in and around the poles of the tepee!! Then when darkness finally fell and the littlest one was asleep (yes, it WAS a longer day today!) we snuggled on the couch and I told the story of Gramma Sun and the Summer Solstice – then one more peek though the kitchen window at the faerie ring (yes! I saw one!) and off to bed.

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Tonight it is hoped that the Solstice Faeries will leave a gift to say thanks for making a special place for them to dance and celebrate the height of summer. I am feeling pretty certain that wish is going to come true ;). I’m looking forward to seeing what tomorrow will bring!

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