There’s a holiday of sorts coming up this week which I’m told once rivaled New Year’s Eve in its pageantry and universal dedication to self-improvement. It’s called Midsummer’s Eve and it occurs around the time of the summer solstice which for those “in our parts” is June 21.
Personally I think we should dust off this tradition and bring it back. It’s a great excuse to take the day off and have a party. After all, we all need more things to celebrate in this complicated world.
Sarah Ban Breathnach writes in her wonderful book “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy” that the old pagan holiday and its midsummer madness and magic are good for the soul. She claims she goes into the garden at dawn and plucks a blossom heavy with dew and pats it on her face. What? Admittedly, I’ve put coffee grounds on my face and it leaves you with a healthy glow, so why not try a little dew?
“Legend has it that any woman who washes her face in the dew of Midsummer’s Day will grow more lovely with the passing year,” writes Sarah. I guess it’s worth a try, and probably works as well as my latest investment in a product called “Annulment of Time Rejuvenating Cream” and a lot cheaper than my “Rebellion of Time Wrinkle Repair” which I buy on line for $15.99.
By this point in the year, a lot of people have totally forgotten their New Year’s resolutions and have settled back into their comfortable old ways. (I’m one of those people.) There were promises to eat more green vegetables, oaths to put off procrastination, and the ever popular commitment to exercise. The latter has been way too challenging for me. First, it was too cold and rainy; now it’s too hot and dry. There are only about two weeks in early spring and late fall that permit outdoors activities in Mississippi, but I’m going to bite the bullet and apply some discipline into my undisciplined life. I swear, I am.
I’m desperately trying to remember my youth when I played outside from dawn until dusk during the long, hot summers and kept a perpetually sunburned nose. I sort of remember having fun riding my bike (even uphill) and skating all over town. Do we lose the ability to have fun as we grow older? I’m tired of behaving like an adult and my friend Marie and I are actually going biking this weekend. I’ve even invested in a helmet which I figure I can wear during the next tornado if my biking career doesn’t work out.
But NO Spandex. Never again in this lifetime.
Yes, it’s time to shake things up a bit. I read that in 14th century Europe, lovers often clasped hand together and leapt over bonfires on Midsummer’s Eve. Sounds a little risky to me, but maybe that’s what it takes to get a new perspective on life. Riding a bike to the refuge on the first day of summer would feel a lot like leaping over a couple of hundred bonfires. Maybe I can get my son to follow us in the car so I’ll have a way to get home. I hope we can fit the bike into my little SUV.