The Million Faces of Summer - June 2022
In just a few short weeks we will be entering the growing season. As we pass through the Summer Solstice on the 21st we move into the pace of longer sweeter days that send roots deep and calls on the gifts and talents of pollinators. This is a season that inspires, connects, flourishes, and produces. In my reflection of Summer, I spend time in the heat, under a beautiful blue sky, connecting with the feel of Summer, allowing my body and mind to simmer in its Grace, its givingness, this is the growing season.
The Million Faces of Summer
Sitting by an old cottonwood tree, I am tucked in under its spotted shade. I can feel the heat of the earth beneath me, and the warm pulses of the air around me. It’s moving in waves, currents, and puttering undulations.
I feel the heat move into my body with each breath, I don’t know where my breath begins and where Summer's breath ends, and I am one with the million faces of summer.
Around me, the grass has lost a little of its vigor of spring and is busy deepening its roots to quench its thirst.
The leaves on the trees, once pliable and moist, hang now working with quiet resolve, for this is their growing season, and in spite of the heat they push into that.
They grow when the world wants to rest, each leaf answering the call of Summer that whispers to them ‘grow, my love, this is the growing season.'
Berries on the vine are ripening in the sun, their sweet juice pressing against their red shiny skins. Like little jewels they glimmer in their green nest of thorns inviting life itself to carefully taste the flavor of Summer. Sweet, so sweet, these little faces of summer.
And oh how summer sings. Just listen to the hum of the cicada, a thousand small voices, singing a persistent symphony through the heat of the day. And, as if not to be outdone, the honey bee sings its soft solo, buzzing from pistil to pistil, diligently collecting thick yellow puffs of pollen on its black fuzzy legs. The honeysuckle joins in the only way it knows how; filling the air around me with its thick and intoxicating scent.
My eyes catch a movement, up on the ditch, a scrawny coyote standing by the bank. His head hanging low, his thirsty eyes searching for the water that moved here yesterday but now is emptied by farmers for their fields. He stands so still, his face, his fur, his thirst. A solitary face of Summer.
And up the road the black pavement dances in the heat waves, moving in wild patterns that look like wet cool pools of water. I wonder to myself if this coyote can see this mirage, and if he ever, in his thirst, would lope towards it only to find, this too, empty and dry. The dry face of Summer.
There is no breeze now under the cottonwood, only the sounds of life around me, an occasional hawk soaring above, the hum, the buzz, and the slow sound of my breath. It’s so hot I close my eyes for a moment, and rest my head against the rough-textured trunk of the tree, I’m feeling the dampness at the back of my neck as one bead of sweat, and then another, makes its course down my spine. I am remembering the hours I spent as a child with my brothers and sisters swimming in the backyard pool, the freckles we made, and the smell of chlorine in our hair and on our skin. The white-hot pool decking we loved to lay down on, delighted to hear a satisfying sizzle. Our dog barking at our wild splashing, underwater tea parties, and endless cannon balls. Grilling hot dogs and marshmallows on sticks over an open fire and waiting until we saw the first falling star of the evening to make our way in for the night. Each one of us, sun-kissed freckles and all, innocent faces of Summer.
When I open my eyes I see two blue dragonflies darting back and forth, the sun playing with the iridescence in their wings, their magnificent wings.
They move amongst the reeds and flowers with grace and power, their huge eyes seeing every detail of this too hot Summer day in inconceivable multiplicity.
Now the Sun is at its highest point in the stark blue, cloudless, sky. It’s a scorcher.
At first glance, a passerby might think that I am alone under this old cottonwood tree, that I sit unaccompanied, that it is quiet and still, that I am a fool, perhaps, to be out in the high heat of this Summer day.
But I am not alone, what looks like a still life painting to some, is very much alive, it’s teeming with purpose, love, fragrance, growth, and song. I am only one face in this enormous crowd under this tree, but here at its old and twisted feet, I am one with the million faces of Summer.
1. Find a quiet spot outdoors. Allow your senses to open fully. Listen to the sounds of Summer all around you. Try to distinguish as many sounds as you can, taking time to become aware of each sound as you open to the sounds of Summer. Notice that you are immersed in the hum of life, the OM, the vibration of life. Be fully present as you welcome Summer.
2. Sitting quietly in an outdoor space let your gaze soften and find a natural object to focus your awareness on. Take in the color, the shape, and the movement or stillness of the object. How is this object growing in this season? Sometimes growth is an expansion and sometimes growth is a dissolution. As you observe this object, ask yourself, "How am I, too, expanding and how am I dissolving?" What is beginning and what is ending?
3. Allow yourself to think of a hot summer day from your childhood, a day of joy, a day of freedom. Invite the sensations of that day into your body and mind, and cultivate a felt sense of that day. Feel a sweetness of a Summer memory fill your experience and allow gratitude to well up within your heart. Fill your heart with gratitude for the sweetness of Summer.
OM & Blessings, Kate
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