do not disturb

On our next visit to the beach we sat in our usual spot to enjoy some supper and noticed that my gull friend wasn’t around. Instead we had two large juvenile great black-backed gulls (above and below) pacing back and forth in front of us, probably hoping for a handout. Eventually they will learn that these two humans never feed gulls! Perhaps they were the offspring of the gull bothering my herring gull during our previous visit?

Anyhow, after we ate we took a little walk. Tim spotted my gull friend first, sitting way out on a section of rocks where we are not allowed to climb. I called out a greeting but he seemed determined to ignore me. He turned his head a couple of times, but didn’t respond. And so parts of a Van Morrison song came to mind…

Other times you just can’t reach me
Seems like I’ve got a heart of stone
Guess I need my solitude
And I have to make it on my own

Well I guess I’m going A.W.O.L.
Disconnect my telephone
Just like Greta Garbo
I want to be alone

Too long to decode all the secrets
Have to get some elbow room
Most people think that everything
Is just what they assume

Well I know I’m going A.W.O.L.
Tell everyone I’m not at home
Just like Greta Garbo
I just want to be alone

~ Van Morrison
♫ (Just Like Greta) ♫

Having a very strong need for “alone” time myself I gave him his space and let him be.

born before the wind

"Red Boat with Blue Sails" by Odilon Redon (1840-1916) French Symbolist Painter & Printmaker
“Red Boat with Blue Sails” by Odilon Redon

We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won
As we sailed into the mystic

Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly
Into the mystic

~ Van Morrison
♫ (Into the Mystic) ♫

geography of the soul

"Head of Lioness" by Theodore Gericault
“Head of Lioness” by Theodore Gericault

I shall search my very soul for the lion inside of me… 
And we sailed all around the world looking for a brand new start… 
~ Van Morrison
♫ (Listen to the Lion) ♫

There is an eternal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outline all our lives.
~ Josephine Hart
(Songs of the Dragonfly: Begging for Enlightenment)

summer nights

"The Mystery of a Summer Night" by Edvard Munch
“The Mystery of a Summer Night” by Edvard Munch

Whichever road I follow, I walk in the land of many gods, and they love and eat one another. Walking, I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.
~ Linda Hogan
(Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World)

A friend posted part of the above quote on Facebook this morning and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I put the book it comes from on my “to-read” list. Perhaps I will have more time for reading this winter.

My ancestors have been calling to me strongly since May and most of my time since then has been spent doing online research, and planning a research trip in the fall. It’s actually one of Tim’s ancestors who is calling the loudest and most persistently – I have discovered a clue that might lead me to her parents, who I have been looking for, off and on, for thirty-seven years!

It’s a struggle for me to balance research, blogging, gardening, housework, preparing healthy meals, de-cluttering, visiting my dad, enjoying the summer… Summer days are so long and mostly hot and humid, although we have had a few wonderful days here and there to enjoy onshore breezes and open windows. I quickly grow weary of the drone from the necessary air-conditioning…

But summer evenings are the best! Going to plays (Shakespeare-in-the-Park) and concerts (Dave Matthews Band) outside, seeing sunsets and starlight and the moonrise – the stuff memories are made of…

This past Sunday evening we went to Summer Music Sundays at Mystic Seaport for the first time. We dined and had drinks under a huge maple tree outside of Schaefer’s Spouter Tavern (named for the tavern in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick), with a view of tall ships moored to the dock on the Mystic River, and smaller boats sailing by while the sun set across the river. We thoroughly enjoyed the music, guitar-playing singer Bruce Foulke, who treated us to some covers of old favorites by James Taylor, Carole King, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton… It was a lovely, perfect evening!

What do you love best about summer?

summer solstice

"Take the Fair Face of Woman & Gently Suspending, With Butterflies, Flowers & Jewels Attending, Thus Your Fairy Is Made of Most Beautiful Things" by Sophie Gengembre Anderson
“Take the Fair Face of Woman & Gently Suspending, With Butterflies, Flowers & Jewels Attending, Thus Your Fairy Is Made of Most Beautiful Things” by Sophie Gengembre Anderson

The summer breeze was blowing on your face
Within your violet you treasure your summery words
And as the shiver from my neck down to my spine
Ignited me in daylight and nature in the garden
~ Van Morrison
♫ (In the Garden) ♫

"Sunflowers" by Claude Monet
“Sunflowers” by Claude Monet

I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer. My bank of wild grass is majestic and full of music. It is a fire that solitude presses against my lips.
~ Violette Leduc
(Call of the Wild: Quotes from the Great Outdoors)

Summer Solstice:
June 21, 2011, 1:16 p.m.
June 20, 2012, 7:09 p.m.

Litha ~ Midsummer

Emotion ~ Fairies ~ Fertility

Seasonal movie:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Activities: Bonfire

*

midsummer memories

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
the setting ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

We had a midsummer party Saturday night, but the pictures I took did not come out well. So I’m going to “cheat” and use pictures from last year’s celebration, which will seem new to my readers because I didn’t have this blog back then…

This is the fourth year my sister and I have done this, and it keeps getting better. All year long we toss around ideas. We got started doing this, I think, because we are both nature lovers. And because we have a little Norwegian heritage and my sister once lived in Sweden for a year. Our adult kids have come to love it and look forward to it just as much as Christmas/Yule. This year we had 17 friends and family attending, a very nice size gathering.

In the first picture, my brother-in-law and Bernie pause for a moment before the decorating begins. The picture is taken from the front yard, looking down one story over tiered stone walls leading down to the side yard. My parents built this house themselves about 1960. My father built the stone walls after we moved in. My brother-in-law installed the patio much more recently for our midsummer parties. Last year my sister found some nice wooden folding chairs to replace the green plastic ones pictured here. Little improvements here and there…

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
woodland garden ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

My brother-in-law does the gardening now. He doesn’t use chemicals or pesticides – it’s so naturally beautiful.

Last year we managed to get Dad outside for a little while. The year before that we actually got him to whittle some sticks down for the kids to use to roast marshmallows. But this year he was too fragile to jostle around across the lumpy terrain  in his wheelchair. I’m not even sure how aware he was that there was a party going on. I was hoping he would catch a whiff of his blooming chestnut tree (it didn’t bloom last year…) but he didn’t say anything about it. When I asked him about it he seemed so confused that I didn’t press him any more.

My sister, my daughter and I have been using pretty beads to decorate glass balls that hold floating candles. The effect is so enchanting after dark. Some of them shattered the first year we tried it, so now we’re using fishing line instead of wire to string the beads. The wires wouldn’t allow the glass to expand from the heat of the lighted candles. It’s hard to get good pictures of them, though!

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
gnomeland security ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

The summer breeze was blowing on your face
Within your violet you treasure your summery words
And as the shiver from my neck down to my spine
Ignited me in daylight and nature in the garden

~ Van Morrison
♫ (In the Garden) ♫

Another highlight of the evening is the arrival of a bottle of frozen vodka! Preferably from Norway, but this year we settled on one from Iceland. We give it to my brother-in-law ahead of time and he freezes layers of flowers and water around the bottle. It’s so pretty to look at and then we drink shots using my sister’s cobalt blue glasses, which only come out of the corner cabinet twice a year!

And finally there is the fire. We roast marshmallows and make some-mores. Play with sparklers and glow sticks with the little ones. Blow weird bubbles with magic bubble wands. Swat at the mosquitoes that make it through the citronella and the smoke. We always say we’re going to stay up all night – it’s supposed to be one of the shortest of the year – and greet the morning sun, but we have never made it much past midnight. Following are some more pictures…

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
Dad’s beloved chestnut tree, all dressed up ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
granddaughter and grandfather sharing a rare moment outside ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
frozen vodka extraordinaire ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
candlelight floating in decorated glass balls ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
firelight ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut