Quietly Sacred: Culture, Belonging, and the Longest Day of the Year


It’s Wednesday, and rain has rolled in to greet the morning. The Solstice is passed, although not without acknowledgement. Saturday we were invited to bless and dedicate a new home and farm, and had a truly lovely few hours with … Continue reading

Summer Solstice

Summer_SunsetHere in the Northern Hemisphere we’ve arrived at the summer solstice, the sun having traveled as far north as it will this year. The days are long and warm, and the nights brief; twilight seems to last forever. In the country, fireflies fill the air above the hay fields.

It’s a good time to gather with others and acknowledge our passage through the warm times. This evening we host a gathering of friends and others who wish to place themselves in community, both with other people and the natural world. Tomorrow we will participate in an interfaith celebration of the solstice, and life’s journeys, at the Unitarian church.

On the Medicine Wheel, as it is understood by many here in the Northeast, we have arrived in the South, the place of summer. The South is the place of noon, fire, and the plants and mammals. Often we just say that we are in the home of the “warm bloodeds and the green ones”.  I like that; generalizing reminds us that we are a part of a much larger community of animals that self-regulate their temperature. We might also remember that our very breath, and thus our lives, is a gift from the plant kingdom. Continue reading

The Rule of Unanticipated Consequences

PerennialsSeveral years ago w bought a dilapidated cape-style house, took it down to studs, and rebuilt it. With the house came lovely borders of flowers that ran along the house foundation. We need to move the foundation, which meant the irises and other perennials had to be moved, or allowed to be destroyed. As it turned out, there lurked, among the irises, goutweed, a notoriously aggressive flowering plant. When we moved the beds to more open space in our yard, the gout weed took over; now it resides in every perennial bed and is threatening to overwhelm our neighbors’ perennials as well.

The thing is, we had no idea that the plant was invasive. Maybe we should have done some research before moving the beds, but we had a very brief period in which to act. As a result, an act of stewardship and conservation became a gardening mishap of significant proportions. We now know that goutweed is a beautiful pest! It has been planted as an ornamental worldwide, and is also used as a spring green and a medicinal plant. Sadly, goutweed is, once established, almost impossible to control or eradicate. Oh! The irony! Continue reading