Midsummer frays me. By the advent of the longest day each year, I always seem to be coming apart at the edges.
A possible explanation: I don’t sleep much right now. All this day, and the noise from my fellow humans out enjoying it. All the things I haven’t done yet, illumined by lingering light.
Another: heavy nostalgia this time of year, and need: for the first place to crack my heart and sink its roots in there. I make my pilgrimage to that place every year around this time—though this year, with the new reality of COVID, I won’t be. But my soul, drinking memory, sits with her feet in the river all the same. Maybe you have a place like that. I hope you do.
To be frayed sounds like a bad thing, I guess, and it does encompass some feelings I could do without. It’s a signal, though, of something important. Midwinter is like this too—similar feeling, different catalysts. The solstices have something to say to me. I’m listening.
Lark is from Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris’ incredible book of spells (in poem and painting), The Lost Words. I’ve owned a copy of that book since it came out; it’s wise company.
I enjoy Lark, but it wasn’t a favorite piece. (That’s Otter, maybe, or Bluebell or Heather…) Then last time I read it, I realized it’s speaking to something like this feeling that follows me at midsummer—the heavy part of the feeling anyway. The sadness that makes the heart grow flatter.
Lark changed for me with that understanding. I began to need it, for one thing. So it comes with me now, ready to companion the approach of this feeling, this solstice-speaking.
It reminds me, too, what I’m doing out in the hills on foot each morning, especially the mornings I’m tired or aching or sad. I’m following the song.
I wish you a song as well; I think we all must find one. And the blessings of this season—whatever strange* or beautiful shape those take for you.
*Here’s a strange shape of blessing I received. Sometimes I get help with my lines—whether I want it or not: