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The summer solstice means balance for me. It means magic and light and joy. It was always a special time for John and me. Each year we planned our yearly trek north so it would land on the summer solstice. We would spend the longest day of the year together on Lake Michigan. We would go hiking searching for the “dragon’s nest”, where rocks had been polished to smooth round eggs. We would ride our bikes through Peninsula State Park and stop at the outdoor theater and allow ourselves the indulgence of climbing around on, and exploring, its back stage doors, nooks and hiddy-holes. We would eat at the Wild Tomato, where warm pizza brought outside to the crowed patio was indulged in and dinner was finished off with a shared chocolate chip cookie. We would spend time at Wilson’s diner and get the chocolatiest malt imaginable. We would laugh, love, explore, and simply be.

The solstice isn’t ruined for me without John here. Its magic, the feeling of the shift from spring to summer is still there. The longest day of the year is still a gift to marvel at, as we now begin our slow recede to fall, then winter. It hasn’t lost its magic for me, but it’s lost its spark of pure joy. It’s now both magical and weepy, pleasant and sad, this measure of time passed marked by the sun, the moon, the Universe.

This week, following the solstice, I’m seeing that it’s my job to continue to enjoy, even if between bouts of weeping, those things I still find amazing. It’s my job to hold tight to what brings me joy and peace. It’s my job to allow what brings me joy and peace to do just that. It’s my job to learn how to walk in the world holding both the light and the dark of my journey here. Perhaps that’s why the solstice has always seemed magical. The world, the Universe, for one day in balance, seemingly without effort. Of course that is not true, it works all year, slowly, slowly moving to meet those two magical days, one in the summer, one in the winter. I too, need to remember that my own movements, slow moving as they may be, are always moving me forward to better balance, an inner solstice, in this new world of “after”. In a life where I am learning to hold my sorrow next to my joy, allowing the beauty of world to bring me happiness, while still holding the ache of great loss, without one overwhelming the other. 

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