Sunday, 24 June 2012

The sun and the rain

This summer in our valley and in many other parts of the country, nature is challenging us in more ways than we could have predicted. An absence of sun we're used to, grey skies and muddy shoes we can cope with, but this amount of rain has proved just too much for us and our poor overburdened rivers. On Friday night the floods came to the Calder Valley and affected many lives. Although the waters have now subsided the mess and the destruction that remains will take weeks and months to recover from. All this happening around summer Solstice has me confused and struggling to work it all out.

Despite my fears the sun really did make an effort for Solstice itself. I'd been harbouring hopes of climbing a big hill with a big view to watch the sun kiss the horizon but couldn't find any willing climbing partners, so I stayed home and made food and fire with my family.

Through the afternoon we pottered about enjoying the ease of outdoors, planting seeds and seedlings, digging earth, dragging wood. I was struck by how untamed and abundant the weeds and wild plants that grow here on the edge of the woods are. The nettles, bracken, foxgloves, lady's mantle, willowherb and buttercups are spilling out all over the place, unable to contain themselves. When the sun shines I can feel it too - the wildness that stirs within, full of potent power and creative energy. The warmth encouraging us to shed our clothes and with them, metaphorically, our old skin, helping us to feel a little more primal, a little more free. The boys seemed to really feel it this year, stripping off almost as soon as our fire was lit - desperate to join in with their dad chopping, slashing and burning in an uncharacteristically masculine display.

It was a gorgeous evening with the fire and the sun, we all felt it but the blissful heat and ease of being was fleeting...The next day was rain again, then a couple of days later, a deluge. How do we connect to the sun, to the land and to each other when we are forced into isolation in our homes? How do we find the strength to shine and bring light when our towns are flooded and we hold a heaviness that we usually associate with winter?

These are the questions that keep coming up for me when summer after summer seems to fall short of our deepest primitive needs for warmth and sustenance. Just as on the land crops cannot thrive and ripen without the sun, so it becomes harder for us to see our projects and dreams come to fruition at this peak point of the year when our powers should be at their height.

There are challenges and trials for us all in this unpredictable weather - some great and some less obvious - but there is also hope. Even as our community stands knee deep in mud and chaos, they stand together. Good-will and generosity abound as people volunteer their time, energy and care to people in need. Teams of people have been helping in schools, businesses and homes up and down the valley. No doubt this effort is being echoed in other places that have suffered severe weather. We witness this again and again after minor and major disasters all over the world; people offering love.

So I think that when the clouds gather and we're unsure where to look for the light, we can look within. We'll find it there in abundance, spilling out all over the place, unable to contain itself.


Hannah Nunn said...

Selina. Hello. Nice to meet you. I'm glad you managed your fire and felt the warmth of the sun at least a little bit. What a lovely post and a lovely conclusion.x

Selina Gough said...

You'll recognise me...I stalk your shop regularly but rarely have the means to indulge. Doesn't stop me dreaming though...