June 17, 2012 by Bill
My calendar of the soul fills me with awe at the miracle of the summer solstice. The dazzling, shimmering light of this solstice period, falling this year on June 20th, balances the winter solstice. It is the Yin-Yang of the universe, the cosmic dance of complementary opposites.
The heat waves radiate out from the mountain rocks that jealously guard our home. The animals find shade from the noonday sun and the flowers wait for their daily drink. I live surrounded by miracles and I realize that we humans are only a very, very small part, a unit of one, symbiotically related and dependent upon all of the other billions of protoplasmic relatives. How is it that we are all connected in some marvelous and mysterious way to this cosmic dance of solstice and equinox? This something unknown…doing we know not what.
I stand in awe and wonder gazing at the flowers outside the glass doors of my study. A long, long time ago there were no flowers. And then, just before the close of the Age of Reptiles, there was a soundless explosion that lasted over a million years. It was the emergence of the angiosperms, the flowering plants. And from flowers came the mystifying emergence of man. My flower seeds have a long memory, and I too, as I remember that my very existence as Homo sapiens depends on these flowers.
In these desert spaces of this summer solstice grows thorny plants and spiny creatures. And within this same solstice are forests of giant trees, and great plains covered with the grasses that weave a garment for the naked earth. And I think that the flowers of a rainy spring and the grasses of a showery summer are good and beautiful and sufficient, even though they will shortly vanish.
I have often wondered, as I wander, what cosmic astrological energy is there within me during these solstice periods? The solstice reminds me that we must come to terms with non-physical realities. It is like ultraviolet light, microwave light and infrared light and many other ranges of frequencies that coexist with our visible light spectrum and yet are invisible. How many other non-physical energy frequencies co-exist with us and yet are invisible to us?
The summer solstice reminds me that we live in the midst of, and are supported by, mysteries beyond our comprehension. It reminds me of our connection to invisible realities, the view long held by Native peoples and Eastern sages. A view that is today being confirmed by physicists and astronomers. “The universe is everything, both living and inanimate things, both atoms and galaxies. The spiritual and material are one, for the universe is the totality of all things,” wrote Fred Hoyle in Frontiers of Astronomy.
Even life and death are one. Life is only a short episode between two mysteries which are yet one. Spring begins with winter and death begins with birth. We all share the same breath together in this short episode, the trees, the birds, the four-legged animals and the human animal, the fish of the sea and the insects of the earth and water. We all dance to a common cosmic rhythm.
The summer solstice is for me a reality check. It puts my life and existence in perspective and fills my days with joy and the realization that the writers and thinkers, the philosophers and mystics who have most inspired me have been those who brought me closer to nature and the natural world. As Thomas Paine wrote: “men and books lie, only nature never lies.” And so it is. I have absorbed the thoughts of Annie Dillard, Loren Eiseley, Lauren van der Post, Goethe on “nature,” Mary Oliver, Gary Snyder, Joseph Wood Kurtch among many other men and women who have reminded me that I am a member of the animal kingdom, but so human an animal.
It is in the early morning hours when my mind/spirit/soul best absorbs the truth and the beauty of these insights into the natural world where truth is to be found. It has always been my favorite time of the day. It is the time of day that can distinguish coarseness from a divine refinement. It is the time of day when a person can look deeply into himself, or herself, and see things and not be fooled. It is the time of day when your vision is clear and the direction of your energies comes into focus. Values and priorities become sharper, issues more clear, right direction more obvious and the day begins on a high and noble plane. You are in harmony with yourself and the world.
Erasmus wrote: “The muses love the early morning as that is the perfect time for thought and study.” Thomas Jefferson wrote that he always arose at first light and walked “to enjoy the freshness of the new dawn.” Frank Dobie, the brilliant iconoclast of the University of Texas, wrote that he took pre-dawn coffee with Plato or Montaigne and would not “wilt the freshest part of the day with the banalities of the news.” How well I remember the week I spent with Buckminster Fuller. He stood silently every morning at first light, facing East and the new dawn for about five minutes in meditation.
There is beauty, quiet, harmony and tranquility at this magnificent time of the day. The natural world in this little part of the cosmos is preparing to receive the life-giving rays of the morning sun. The juices of life are flowing. It is the time of day when I most clearly remember that we are living in a world of wonder and miracles. How is it that we are all connected in some marvelous and mysterious way to the cosmic dance of solstice and equinox?
In this season of Solstice Magic, my calendar of the soul reminds me that I know of nothing else but miracles. What greater miracles could there possibly be? On some very profound level, my two little Shih-Tzus are my brothers and the flowers are my sisters. And we are One.