Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Midsummer Day's Reality

Shakespeare's comedic homage to the solstice, once derided by Samuel Pepys as "insipid" and "ridiculous," celebrates so many things, revelry in the mysteries of the night being one of them. Last year I toyed with A Midsummer Night's Dream, and in particular found resonance in the nocturnal--they very opposite of the summer solstice's emphasis on diurnal plenitude.

Today, the day when the sun "stands still," I awoke to the sounds of a whiny Gramsci-cat, just as the first hints of daylight permeated darkness at 4 something in the morning (he alerted us to his need to use the cat box, er, my garden, at 3:30 a.m.; the boy thinks he is a dog). The fan no longer masked what I made out to be breezes rustling the leaves. By 5, a few birds began their morning chorus. But I lay in bed, coaxed back into semi-consciousness, until the whines from outside could no longer be ignored.

The rustling noise I heard came from, yes, leaves blowing in the wind, but increasingly from the sound of a considerable solstice rain shower.

Gramsci was soaked.

My midsummer night's dream--not in the least filled with lust, love, and fancy, no Puck, no Lysander, no beautiful Indian prince, alas, nothing that I can even remember--quickly morphed into midsummer morning crisis.

And though the boy relished being dried with a towel, protest did he when it came to the drying of his feet! (We really must trim his nails!)

Crisis subsided, I made my way to the study. After weeks of painful wrestling (by which I mean writing) I sat at the computer, staring face to face with the introduction of my book that has eluded me.

But then the solstice bestowed its clarity upon me, and the plenitude of its light beamed onto my torpid brain. And a process we might analogize to photosynthesis occurred, and the introduction is now as complete as it can be (without having fully written the book), and submitted to the appropriate people. And, perhaps more astonishingly, I am happy with it.
 Clarity comes in many forms, and often when one least expects it. The solstice, I suppose, reminds us of that, for in one brief, almost inappreciable moment, the sun stands still and we are one with the sun at the center of the universe.

Happy Solstice!

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