Notes from the Field - The Summer Solstice
I am writing these notes on the Summer Solstice, June 21st. It is nearly 4pm and the sun is high in the sky and traveling toward the Northwest horizon. Today is not only the longest day of the year, but it’s also the time when the sun moves its furthest to the west. Every year on this day, I encourage people I garden with to take note of the sun and follow its trajectory through the sky with open and outstretched arms.
Understanding your body’s relationship to the travel of the sun on a day like the Solstice is a simple act of communion with the land — something we don’t often have the opportunity to do, let alone know how.
I often think about how disconnected we are with the rhythms of the land we inhabit, how so few people have access to knowledge about their relationship to the world. Why aren’t we all taught about the relationships between light, soil, water, plants and people? I was lucky to have a family who instilled this wisdom in me as a young person and then later the opportunity to study with many skilled farmers, gardeners, and artists. If you have the desire to deepen your understanding of your place in the world, I recommend you start by quietly observing. If you sit down in a garden or a park and get still, what do you notice? Where is the sun? Do you hear any birds? Do you see any flowers blooming? How do you feel when you quietly observe all that surrounds you?
The solstice isn’t a discrete event. It’s a transition, just like the cycles of the moon. So please take a moment over the next few days and trace the sun’s journey. Notice what is happening in the world around you and the world within you during these long days and short nights. Trust that you’ll find wisdom there.
In solidarity with keepers of the earth everywhere,
Director of Flamingo Estate Garden & Horticulture