I find the longest day both happy and sad. Summer is on its way. For the next 3 months we can sit and eat outside. We work in our garden and we see our friends and family. That's the happy. But in a place like Canada where the summers are so short, the way the days get shorter is also a harbinger of the winter to come. That is my sad.
Isn't this like our lives?
I see June 21st a bit like when we reach 35. We are on the cusp of young and mature. With luck we have birthed our kids and the long haul of raising them has begun. Our bodies are not what they had been and as for our bodies, it is downhill all the way into the future!
No wonder December 25 is celebrated as the birth of Jesus. It is that darkest time when life stirs unseen in the womb.
March is surely when we are sexually mature. The birds and the bees and all life is busy nesting and mating. Life is bubbling up and life is ahead of us and full of promise. No wonder we rejoice.
September, where I think I am now, is a look back at the joys of summer. With luck to see our job done in raising our own kids and maybe the joy of seeing them raise theirs. With luck to look back on your life's work and feel good about it. To remember the year behind you. For surely September is a time of gratitude. It hopefully is a harvest time when what we have sown in life comes to fruition. It is also sad. For time is now so short. Every day of sun is precious. All around us the plants give up their colour and start to die. Decay advances. We pay attention to life more than we ever have before.
And in December, as life renews itself, we say good bye to all we know. In the end we say goodbye even to ourselves and join that eternal cycle of birth, life. decay and death. Hopefully we have had a life. It is too late then if you have not.
No wonder the ancients payed such attention to these solstice dates. As do we still. Christmas is still the celebration of renewal. Easter happens also to be the next equinox. Christians celebrate life then. In Canada and the US we celebrate Canada day and July 4th. In Quebec this weekend we celebrate St Jena Baptiste day. These times are when we celbrate ourselves. In September we celebrate Labour day. It is also harvest festival. We celebrate what we have done
When I think of the great festivals of the sun and our lives, the old meaning makes more and more sense to me.
Am I just an old man in my September, or do these times touch you too?