Midsummer in the Mountains: Nocturnal Flowers and Woodland Revels
Come high Summer in the Southwest, the wildfires rage and nearly everything dries to dust. There’s a great stillness as the land seems to hold its breath in anticipation of the rainy season that usually arrive sometime in the second week of July. There’s a palpable tension as we all wait to see how much fire damage will accumulate around us and what will survive until those first blessed drops of rain kiss the parched earth.
Even here in the mountains, the grass has all turned gold and the river trickles across the rocks in small rivulets. Wildlife clings close to any water sources and the afternoons are quiet as the sun beats against volcanic cliffs. The vibrant and diverse communities of life often only become apparent after the sun begins its dip into the West, and evening often brings the hum of insects, the skittering of small animal feet, and the hushed wings of myriad nightbirds.
As dark falls, the sphinx moths hover over fuchsia tinted four o’clock flowers and drunkenly totter around just opened datura blossoms. This is the moment in time when life flourishes as we approach the Summer Solstice. Shadows lengthen, and the cool air calls us all out to play. Midsummer has been a favored celebration for most of my life, and I anticipate each year like an eager child. In the beginning, it had something to do with how close it is to my birthday, and allowed me to extend the festivities just a bit longer. Even now, living in the hot Southwest, I find myself wanting to slow and stretch time, to enjoy these white hot days and intoxicating evenings for as long as possible. But of course, the wheel keeps on turning, so I try to drink up as much of the sensations as I can each season.
This coming weekend we’ll be creating any number of berry based treats, and nearly every sweet thing will be flavored with the delicate but complex flavor of rose, which is consider to be one of the perfect herbs and flowers for the Solstice! Grape leaf, Paintbrush, and Wild Tarragon crowns will be made for all and we’ll spend time near the river harvesting Nettles and watching the Monarda flowers open into purple fireworks on the longest day of the year.
Despite my pronounced love of the present moment, I’m still counting down the days until the Herbal Resurgence! I’m so excited to see so many of my friends again, to be able to learn from teachers I might not otherwise ever meet, and watch the happy pack of herb loving children run through the wildflowers. The way the Resurgence community comes together so quickly at each event always amazes me, and I’m profoundly grateful for the magic that’s created every single year!
And I hope to see many of you there! Until then, a blessed Midsummer to you all… enjoy the dusk and dawn of these long days, and the beauty that infuses them all.
PS – For those of you considering attending the Resurgence this September, let me know what you’d like to see me teach. I’m still making up my mind, and would love to have your input!