The summer solstice means 15 hours and 22 minutes of daylight on June 21st in Wisconsin. It marks summer's longest day.
June 24 is Midsummer Day. Nordic myth has it that dew gathered on Midsummer Day brings youth to aching bones and aging bodies. Since ancient times, people in northern regions celebrate this time of year by enjoying the season's first strawberries. My own ritual is a breakfast of fresh-picked strawberries and a walk in the dewy wild.
Here in the wilds on Midsummer Day, thick tangles of green hide legions of eyes. Leaves and scented blooms twine up and up, to a sky full of floating and flying things. Mingled roots burrow deeper and deeper in search of nutrients and water.
Wandering the meadows and woods, lost in profusion and plenty, thought finally slows then stops.
Within this abundance of wild-living things, it is possible to become absorbed. Not absorbed in the sense of being mentally occupied and focused. Not communing in meditative oneness. Literally absorbed in the sense of being drawn in, swallowed up, ingested by the wholeness of the visible and invisible world. Disappeared. A heart pumps but it's no one's and the trees breathe. Ephemeral, undaunted, these longest days of summer.
Artist and naturalist Michelle Louis has a vigorous curiosity about the natural world. Her energetic, investment-quality paintings bring balance and harmony
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