Summer Solstice


summer

Image by flavijus via Flickr

This last Father’s Day marked four years in Alberta. One of the things that struck me when we first moved here was the vast difference in daylight hours during the early summer. Typically, the sun sets in Iowa around nine-ish. Here the evening stretches towards eleven and our wedding in Jasper shortly after solstice that year was illuminated until just after 11 P.M.

It’s rained like a chapter out of Genesis this month. Cloud layer upon gray cloud, puffed up and disgruntled like a woman with PMS has shrouded June in gloom. Solstice nearly passed us by.

How much rain?

Our sump pump drips constantly and water whooshed underfoot like bad Titanic sound effects. The first time I heard it, I thought it was thunder. Not because it was that loud, but because I didn’t know we had a sump pump. In the four years I’ve lived here, it’s never pumped a drip like alone the Athabasca.

Last night and tonight was yellow heaven. It’s nearly 10 PM as I type this and rays of radiance illuminate the bluest skies on the planet.

June can be chilly and summer fickle, but she always gets her glow on at some point. I am pleased I didn’t miss it.


Persephone ~ goddess of Spring

Image by ihave3kids via Flickr

Today is the literal if not the figurative first day of Spring. A glance out our back door, and at the weather forecast for the next few days, would hardly be reassuring, but it is spring. The post-nuclear apocalyptic looking jack rabbits that roam the fields are flecked with the warm brown of summer as they shed their white camo, and the chickadees can be heard on the mornings that are frosted over.

And the pavement is peeking out from under a mix of ice and chemically laden slush.

Today is a day of equal standing. Light and dark is perfectly balanced and the march to Summer Solstice begins.

Many traditions and myths have been fashioned around the Vernal Equinox. Resurrection mythology abounds, and I don’t blame Christians one bit for ignoring or trying to suppress because they pre-date Jesus by a lot and call his reality into question. A fascinating example?

In ancient Rome, the 10-day rite in honor of Attis, son of the great goddess Cybele, began on March 15th. A pine tree, which represented Attis, was chopped down, wrapped in a linen shroud, decorated with violets and placed in a sepulchre in the temple. On the Day of Blood or Black Friday, the priests of the cult gashed themselves with knives as they danced ecstatically, sympathizing with Cybele in her grief and helping to restore Attis to life. Two days later, a priest opened the sepulchre at dawn, revealing that it was empty and announcing that the god was saved. This day was known as Hilaria or the Day of Joy, a time of feasting and merriment.

We will celebrate spring with the continued dogged pursuit of renovation. It’s resurrection-ish, wouldn’t you say?

Silver and Edie will be over to help with the drywall again as I am still forbidden to lift and the walls need to be up before Spring Break week. That’s when the new kitchen cabinets and countertop are scheduled for installation.

They were here yesterday as well along with Mick and her friend Dare. He goes back to her high school days, and though they are just friends, I couldn’t help noticing the obvious Rob traits in him. I am fascinated by the way the women in Rob’s life look for him in they men they admit into their lives. Silver, the new FIL and now Dare. It’s uncanny.

Rob is a taskmaster though and his Virgoian need for perfection and having his eyes and imprint on all he surveys within the boundaries of his kingdom needs to totally be reckoned with by all.

“Try not to be too hard on them,” I remarked on Friday evening.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“You know,” I said. “The heavy sigh, the eye-roll and then walking away in telling silence.”

“I don’t do that,” he protested.

“Totally you do,” I said. “Maybe you should practice toning it down tonight so it won’t be so harsh.”

Yesterday that became a running joke, and as we were discussing it, the older girls chimed in with tales of their own which provoked Silver to pipe up,

“So that’s where Edie gets it.”

“I don’t!” she protested.

And Dare replied,

“You do.”

Apples and trees.

It was a good pre-spring day Saturday though not as stunning as the near 10C temps of Friday when the whole of the Fort seemed dressed for summer. This coming week will be chilly with snow but the following promises sun and warmth, and I fully expect to see the little high school girls running about in shorts and sandals soon. Dee is chomping to be rid of her snow pants and the battle of the inappropriate for school summer footwear is soon to recommence.

We’ve called off our trip to the South this month to accommodate the reno, but I am determined that this will be the last major deconstruction this year. Our summer will be that of any self-respecting Albertan and include a weeks long sojourn with the holiday trailer and then taking it out to camp every weekend. Living at a breakneck frenzy in the great outdoors for as many hours as one can stomach and beyond in is the Western Canadian way after all.