The Summer Solstice

Friday, June 19, 2020

Hello dear email subscribers,

WHAT A WEEK! I can't stop thinking about how many nights I spent this spring so, so worried that nothing would ever grow, and now it feels as if things are growing before my eyes. No, for real, I saw a zucchini grow in front of my eyes today. Time is so strange. It was only four months ago that Andy and I returned from a month long trip to Japan and really began digging in and stewarding our little piece of land. Only four months! I'm not going to lie, when our neighbors stop by and tell how us how much has changed and how hard we have working, my heart swells a little. I also worry a little. We read somewhere that you should live in a place for all four seasons before making any major changes. It does feel as if we may have jumped the gun...but it also feels as if we're living the dream. I guess both of those things can be true.

Here's your nifty table:

What we've harvested for you this week: peas, hakurei turnips, gorgeous head lettuce of all varieties, spinach, salad mix, arugula, hon tsai tai broccoli, baby boy choy, radishes, and herbs.
Where you can get it: Port Angeles Farmers Market, Downtown Transit Center, Saturday 10-1. Go get yourself some Sasquatch doughnuts and then head to us for the healthy eats
Veggies on deck: carrots and yellow squash, and some straighter zucchini. (they're still a little wonky shaped)

Tonight we played a game where Andy picked a topic and I wrote what comes to mind. He chose the Summer Solstice, I poured a beer (home-brewed by yours truly), and here I am.

Andy is my solar system guy. I cannot tell you how many times he has explained to me, my family, and my friends, the orbit of the earth around the sun, the rotation on its axis, and what that means for the seasons, the equinoxes, the solstices, the position of the sun in the sky, the day length, etc. The lessons usually involve whatever props we have within arms reach. Sometimes we just use our heads and fists to represent the sun and earth. These lessons are always hilarious, informative, and unfortunately, usually forgotten. Bless Andy for reexplaining every single time someone asks him to.

I've never been so aware of the way the sun moves as I am since moving to Port Angeles. The sun has become a trusty friend in a way. I check on it each morning and track its progress through the sky. I take note of where it starts and ends each day, and at what time. Each day the sun sits further north in the sky and rises and sets at a sharper angle to the horizon. Winter is not far enough in the past to have forgotten where the sun was in those wetter and darker months, and I am astonished by how far it has traveled in the sky since then. Or rather, how much we've traveled.

It's kind of incredible to think about how we, unobservant humans, experience the effects of the earth hurtling through space. Andy and I did some intense mental math a few weeks ago and figured out based on the distance of the earth from the sun (93,000,000 miles) that we are traveling at 66,666.6667 mph around the sun. Right now. Makes you kinda queasy doesn't it? No, it actually doesn't make you queasy, and that is exactly what is so crazy. We are traveling so fast and yet can't feel a thing. The only perceptible sensation is the sun's warmth as it travels higher in the sky each day and the joy we feel as the days get longer.

We welcome the Summer Solstice. We welcome the bounty of food and energy that comes with more sunlight. We have more picnics, sleep so much less, and sometimes even indulge in the wearing of a tank top. (Dang it's cold up here in the PNW!) The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year. From here until the Winter Solstice our days are only getting shorter. I want to selfishly hold onto this day. It came too fast. I didn't appreciate the lengthening of days enough. Didn't get up early enough. Didn't swim, ride my bike, or take enough evening walks. Can I freeze the earth in its orbit for just a few days?

The beauty is that I can't freeze this thousands of miles per hour hurtle through space. It forces a kind of gratitude on me that I would never have if it weren't for the changing of the seasons. We keep on flying, so fast we can't even feel it. I like to try to though. I notice warmth as it travels up my cheek where I eat breakfast on the back porch. I notice the crops on the north side of the beds as they grow faster and taller than those on the south side. I notice the quality of light and which shadows are cast where and when throughout the day. I learn about place and space and time, and in turn I feel a sense of belonging. The more I notice about the patterns of this land, the more I feel like I belong to it.

It reminds me of my favorite poem of the moment, "A Lover's Quarrel" by Sam Hamill. I'll write you out the first stanza.

There are some to whom a place means nothing,
for whom the lazy zeroes
a goshawk carves across the sky
are nothing,
for whom a home is something one can buy.
I have long wanted to say,
just once before I die,
I am home.

I'll leave you with that for tonight. Look up the poem, it is amazing! Write back and tell me how you feel about the Summer Solstice, how you celebrate, and how you feel about the days growing shorter now. I'm notoriously bad at checking email, except now I look forward to a few responses from you guys each Saturday, and so I check more often.

All the best from our farm,