summer solstice was tuesday. in the days leading up to solstice and in these days since, i’ve been so tuned in to the power of this time of year.
after all, humans have been paying attention to these astronomical patterns in nature since the beginning of time. we have devoted our lives to constructing sacred sites like the Great Pyramids and Stonehenge as a way of honoring these patterns. there have been festivals, rituals, ceremonies spanning humanity as a way to draw us into these natural rhythms.
because it matters.
there is meaning in being in rhythm with nature. feeling connected to something bigger than ourselves matters.
it is what it means to be alive, living.
as life would have it, our family was on vacation in st. helena, south carolina during solstice. there was intention around this. there was a desire to do as the sun taught us to do and to “stand still”. to put our feet in the sand, be with the ocean, and to slow down.
it was a beautiful time in a beautiful place.
for now, what i want to share on this, the day that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, is what evidence was collected by joining with nature’s rhythms.
the first day, there was Angela. i took this video before knowing her. she and her poodle made my heart sing–their freedom, their play, their joy. we’d just arrived at the beach and i felt like weeping at the beauty of it all.
afterwards, she approached me and her joy continued to overflow as she shared with me her skills for shark-tooth hunting. i was thrilled and went straight away to searching…after thinking i found one, i bounded to her–just like poodle–as she advised that it was not, after all, a shark tooth. she gave additional teachings on how to be sure. as we headed to our car later, i heard her calling after me. she came running my way–just like poodle–to gift me a shark tooth she’d just discovered. a tiny, itsy-bitsy treasure. Angela.
the next morning, i woke up and journeyed to the beach solo for the sunrise. it was quiet, peaceful, glorious.
as i began walking toward the shoreline, a voice yelled my way, “have you seen the turtle tracks?”
i turned and found a lone woman standing there, curly hair blowing wildly in the wind. her shoulderless turquoise dress flowing.
“show me!” i said and she simply pointed right in front of me.
i stood amazed at the very-obvious tracks before me; i was quite literally standing in the middle of them. i would have never known as i had never seen anything like these before.
she proceeded to tell them a bit of what she knew about the turtles as we waited for the volunteers to come and advise. she and i shared in a most sacred experience of digging up mama loggerhead turtle’s 100 eggs and relocating them to higher ground.
i know nothing else about her other than her love of life, of creation, of this mama loggerhead and her eggs. barely any words were spoken between us. and i’ll never forget her. her name: Skye.
later that same day, on Juneteeth, our family ventured to Penn Center, the first school for freed slaves. we were wandering around the property and a woman came up to us, pointing us in the direction of a map. i never caught the woman’s name but she and her husband, Mike were visiting from England to bury Mike’s father who had died just a week before. they were tender and raw, with hearts broken wide open. mike shared how his father had been a member of Mother Emmanuel Church and how they buried his father on the anniversary of Emmanuel Nine. He reminded me of the meaning of that event. and then as I spoke of the fact that we were together in this place on Juneteeth and Father’s Day, he asked me the meaning of Juneteenth. he, a Black man, me, a White woman. both of us speaking how we need one another to know these stories. as we stood in the place of Penn Center on Juneteenth/Father’s Day. he, offering love and encouragement and example to my son. Mike.
on wednesday, the day after solstice, i returned solo to the beach. i felt ready to listen more deeply. there was an inner stillness that i longed to be with. it was what solstice had been trying to teach me. i sat with Her. i asked Her to be with me, to speak to me. Her was God, Spirit, Life, the ocean, the sun, my Self.
just then, a woman appeared.
i’d noticed her blanket earlier–the lone item on the sparse sprawl of beach and wondered if the high tide had washed it up, a lost item at sea brought to land. turns out, it was her’s. she bent to pick it up, her dreads pulled back into a bright yellow headwrap. a bold floral sundress hung off her shoulders; a satchel hung around her neck like a necklace hungry for shell treasures. her shoulders were back; her head, high. she walked proudly, wisely.
she was the manifestation of the Her i’d been listening for. no doubt.
without thinking, i got up and walked toward her. i asked her if i could take her photograph. without missing a beat, she said “yes. but i don’t know why?” it was the kind of response that teased a question, her voice lifting at the end. but it wasn’t really a question. i answered, “i don’t know either.” and we both broke out in laughter. she replied, “sometimes we just don’t know.” and we laughed again. like old friends.
she went on to share a bit of her story. she had moved to Coffin’s Point back in 2004 from DC. her kids and grandkids are still there. her soul sisters are here. she’d visited years ago and knew it as home, knew she’d find a way here. and she did. been here since. loves the land, the ocean, the sound. the oyster beds and the mud. she laughed again as she said this last piece.
a moment hung between us and our eyes met. i do not know. and i know.
i asked for her name. Eve.
Eve gifted me the embodiment of solstice’s teaching.
the next morning, our last, i made a final visit to the beach for sunrise. i wanted to give thanks. to give reverence. the rising sun stopped me in my tracks and i took my seat, noticing a solitary man photographing the magnificence. i took a few photographs of him watching Her.
She rose, illuminating Life.
and the photographer turned to head back up the beach. his work, done. as he neared me, his light began spilling out (as a dear friend puts it), as if the Sun’s radiance poured into him, uncontained and uncontainable.
“did you see?”!
and we began laughing and almost dancing with joy. he proceeded to share with me some of the magical images he brilliantly captured/created. there was awe. his name, Simon.
his light continued to spill out, sharing with me the magic behind his brilliance, his craft.
and just like that, a soul connection. a soul friend.
we belonged to one another. we were family.
in times like these, it is easy to buy into the delusion that laws determine who we are and what rights we have and how we are together. yes, laws play a role. and like Jesus said so many times in his sermon on the mount, “the law says ___; I say…”
our humanity is not bound by the law.
when our hearts are open, when we are still enough within to be in right relationship with all of creation, then we cannot help ourselves. love pours out of us through sharing of resources, self, gifts, talents, skills. sacrifice becomes gift.
solstice and joining in nature’s rhythm offers evidence of the power of the human heart, of the human spirit.
now, we need these lessons. we need to remember. we can choose. the choice is ours. and no one can take that away.
Grace Lee Boggs’ voice echoes in my heart/mind here: “movements are born of critical connections rather than critical mass.”
it is up to us.
let us rise like the Sun, spilling light all over this mad, suffering and beautiful world.
thank you, Angela, Skye, Mike, Eve, Simon for the evidence you offered of the power we have within us.