And here is the tea I made using the three roots I harvested, along with a few others I had in my cupboard, and some slices of ginger root as well. Roots teas are simmered rather than steeped, and my kitchen smelled earthy and wholesome during the process.
I am going to slip out of poetry-writing mode for a little while now, as I begin the summer process of compiling and editing, sorting and weeding the writings that I have now. Today is St. John’s Eve, the day before the feast day of St. John the Baptist. Throughout time and cultural spaces, this celebration has changed and shifted, collected some of the meanings of the Solstice which has passed only days ago.
Midsummer marks the moment in the northern hemisphere when the sun begins to lose its power (though we don’t feel it for many months yet). St. John’s Day carries with it the transformative weight of the symbolic gift of baptism that St. John created, so the dying light is also representative of our own dying lights and our own transformative resurrections throughout our lives. The cycles continue. Change is not only possible, not only inevitable, but welcome.
Paradoxically, while the Sun-king is overthrown as the days begin to shorten, his power continues strong, and flares up for the next season. I think this is the time for me to take the words that I have written and subject them to a baptism, watch them transform. I have read that in some celebrations of St. John’s Day, a snake is one of the primary symbols, the creature who sheds its skin, leaving its dead self behind, while the living part continues on, sleek and shining, transformed. That is what I seek for my words in this season. I will continue to write gratitude lists for daily practice, and occasional poems and ramblings as the Muse speaks.
I found this traditional St. John’s Day poem:
Green is gold
Fire is wet
May you meet your dragon with courage and aplomb in this season as you step into your future.
1. Date night was wonderful last night. Friends gave us a gift certificate to the Accomac. I don’t know that I have ever sat down in a restaurant and said to myself that I could order whatever I wanted, with no limits, but this is precisely what we did last night. Jon had a Wild Boar Bibimbap with kimchi for appetizer, and a Petit Mignon with herbed potatoes and scorched asparagus with preserved lemon. I had Chilled Sweet Pea Soup with lotus pods (like Odysseus’s crew members I might have chosen to stay in that land of the lotus forever) and Blackened Swordfish with summer squash and herb sauce, along with the asparagus. For dessert, he had an Accomac version of a hot fudge sundae and I had Bananas Foster (though they don’t flambee it tableside on the wooden porch). We shared a cosmopolitan made with cranberry juice and jalapeno-infused vodka. I think I will be infusing some jalapenos this summer–it seems like such a medicinal thing to use for a fancy drink, but I love that heat.
2. All the adults who care for and offer attention to my children. I grew up in such a nest as well, with wise and friendly and funny adults who took time for me, and I am incredibly grateful for the adults who create the same protected space for my own children. I am thinking right now of Sandra, in particular, who has been their summertime companion for years now. Now when they are probably old enough to be required to entertain themselves on farm days, they cannot do without her, and this is as it should be.
3. Cool winds announcing rain. The plink of raindrops on leaves.
4. Cycles and changes. Transformation. Leaving the old skin behind to live in the new and tender and shining skin.
5. Layers of sound in the distance and nearby in the morning. Birdsong mingled with the human sounds of the day’s beginning.
May we walk in Beauty!