The Irony of Midsummer
How could the same day be both midsummer and the beginning of summer? I puzzled on that when I was younger. I remember reading a piece in Seventeen magazine on how you could throw a Midsummer Night's Dream themed party, complete with fairies and a Maypole, and all sorts of other fun. I thrilled to the thought of hosting such a party and yet I puzzled, wasn't a Maypole for celebrations in May?
I found my answers years later, in the differences of the agricultural calendar from one place to another. Scandinavian festivities featured a Maypole later in the year because the growing season starts later there than in England.
And why Midsummer when we see the season as just beginning now? Because the agricultural season is half over already, and we are close to harvest for many of the plants our ancestors depended on for food. It's only weeks before we begin to see fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini in the markets. And by now some things like lettuces and other greens are ready for the picking. Berries will soon be ripe. The sun has reached its highest point. We celebrate the longest day of the year.
From now on, everything is about decline. It is the paradox of the universe. Every triumph is really the beginning of defeat.
When the sun sets today you may be looking forward to the warm days ahead, to boating and swimming, to laying out on the beach or puttering around in the garden. But the earth is already beginning to wind down towards fall.
Each thing contains in itself the seed of its polar opposite.
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/man-fire-person-silhouette-hot-142491/