Reflecting on the upcoming summer solstice got me thinking about how much of our connection to the rhythms of life and creation we’ve lost. As technology and industrialization has increased, even much of our interaction with the circle of the seasons has been minimized or lost.
For example, many of us are unaware of what produce is grown when. Also, we pay little attention to the moon’s waxing and waning. And the sun doesn’t dictate our waking and sleeping anymore.
Consequently, life has shifted in big ways for most of us since our agrarian ancestors lived. As a result, we search for other forms of rhythm. We still need a sense of place in time and space. And that is certainly true for children just as it is for adults.
So, what counters all this and encourages a sense of grounding in our lives today? The coming and going of the school year. The liturgical calendar with its colors and seasons. Women’s monthly cycles. Holidays and family traditions.
Even still, our culture does little to connect us to the Earth. Yet, the earth is the place from which we originate. We call it home for our entire existence. Its gifts fuel us and its ground supports us. Our bodies will return to its soil. And in spite of all this, we rarely celebrate its wonder.
The solstice is a wonderful opportunity to slow down, take notice of Earth’s splendor, and thank God.
What is the Summer Solstice?
Summer Solstice, also called midsummer in some places, is the longest day of the year. Also, in many areas, it’s considered the first day of summer. In the Northern Hemisphere, it happens between June 20-22. And in the Southern Hemisphere, it falls between December 20-23.
Around the world, it’s commemorated in lots of different ways. From music festivals to surf contests, people come together to celebrate the sunshine.
5 Ways to Celebrate Summer Solstice
Thank God for the sun. Explore all the ways the sun provides for life. Talk about it with your children and take time to show your gratitude. Saint Francis of Assisi, a lover of creation, wrote a hymn called Canticle of the Sun you may want to use as a prayer. Here is an excerpt:
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Enjoy the sunlight. Go swimming. Hit the beach or lake. Go for a hike or ten-minute walk around the block. Picnic at a park or in your own backyard. Do some gardening. Just take time to feel the sunshine on your skin. Notice its warmth and how it energizes you.
Have a BBQ. Nothing says summer like cooking out on the grill. Invite friends over. Your street could even throw a block party. Enjoy the long afternoon and evening, whatever you do. Push bedtime back a bit for longer playtime and memory-making.
Make sun catchers. Give your children a chance to express their love of light and creation through the making of art. There are several ways to make sun catchers. The simple objective is to create something that allows for light to pass through it when it’s hung in a window. Get creative with materials and assembly. Need some inspiration? Check out a few great ideas over at Rhythms of Play.
Brew sun tea. I remember playing in the backyard as a kid as my mom’s glass pitcher sat on the brick half-wall brewing tea. And I’ve never once made it myself. This is the summer, ’cause guess what? It’s not all that hard. And it’s super versatile. Make it to your liking. You can even add mint or basil. Pour it over ice with a squeeze of lemon, and enjoy. And yes, we do expect to see many of you Instagramming your tea-brewing glass pitchers and tagging us in your photos!
Happy Summer, Friends!
Happy Summer, friends! This solstice, enjoy the sun and notice all it makes possible on this glorious planet. Find space to sink into the rhythms of the Earth and celebrate.
And, we love hearing from you. So, don’t forget to share what you’re doing to celebrate the onset of summer in the comments!