Wednesday, 30 June 2010

And Then The Night Threw Down It's Winter Cloak.

Musings of a party hostess after the fact.

All week my weather app was never far from my hand.
Showers, sun/cloud, showers. Such a threat hanging over us after last weeks perfect Saturday!
But somehow we managed to hide away from those portentous clouds and the day was perfect.


I wondered as I wandered,
at how thirteen years of celebrating Midsummer with our friends has seen a generation of children grow up before our very eyes.
Children who, only yesterday it seems, were freckled, gap-toothed scallywags with muddy knees and bruised foreheads, swinging out of the trees and running through the grass on some important mission. A gaggle of earnest explorers, commandeering one tent or another for late night rumpus or shadow plays on the wall.
And now they arrive, towering above me, nodding and smiling, standing and chatting with the adults, adults themselves I am amazed to find! And I turn a slow twirl in my garden, my grateful heart beating in my chest as my eyes find the latest gaggle racing away on piggy-backs into the gathering gloom, swords waving as they disappear shrieking into the meadow.


Each year has seen the return of old friends, and each year the arrival of some new. An opportunity to catch up, to reacquaint, and sometimes to discover new connections or rekindle old ones.

The setting sun graciously gave us a spectacular show as we gathered in the cooling air. We had the most generously splendid banquet-like spread in my kitchen, each family bringing the most beautiful food and cakes and such to share.

And this year there is a new flock of fledglings testing their wings, thrusting their way out of their smaller skins as the fearsom Teen-somness creeps in amongst them. And they prowl and preen throughout the night, their voices too loud, bodies wayward and clumsy. And oh how they make my heart squeeze!


And there was a fire.

There is something about a fire. Something is stirred deep inside as we sit around the fire together, passing the short hours of the night until the sky leans towards morning, the barest glimmer of light blooming low over the sea as the full moon slides behind the trees and up into the intense blue that heralds the arrival of the dawn.

Something that nourishes and reaffirms like a warm hand on your shoulder, that gentle squeeze, the friendly nod.

And even though part of my heart was pierced so painfully with memories of the one who always loved this night, and who will never sit around that fire with us again, his presence and his absence more real than ever, I sat and was grateful, for these people who in all their human ways are part of the fabric that is this life of mine.

And as we set off a fire lantern in his memory into the deepening sky, I said a silent thank you. A silent, grateful, thankful prayer. For all that we have been blessed with.

And the sun rose. And morning came.

Again.

20 comments:

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

A beautiful way to celebrate the season.
A beautiful tradition.

Susan said...

Dear Ciara...Lovely images you painted in your words. Your missing loved one, no doubt was there with all of you, around that fire, in spirit. You felt his presence. Thank you for sharing. Susan

In Real Life said...

It sounds like a wonderful gathering of friends old and new and in-spirit.
Gorgeous photos!

Ellen said...

When I saw the photos of the camp fire as I was reading I had a vision of the times I too have spent with loved ones in the outdoors. When we would share a vacation up at the mountains (still my favorite place) where during the day we hike or sun ourselves by the lake...at night the smores by the campfire as the stars lit up the sky. Talking, talking. Yes, there are those who come every year and there are others where they may not come for many years...I always hope that we will all meet again and share time together...introduce the little ones to the magic of nature (and not a TV or other)....that was a joy to read your post...thank you!

Emma said...

Looks like another wonderful solstice party at your place. Thirteen years! How time has flown. Occasions like this always bring the dear departed to mind, and so they should. I am sure B was there between the flickering light and the dancing shadow, watching over his darlings and good friends alike.

Elizabeth said...

What a beautiful description of friendship, memory, the passing of time and celebration of life. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Whitney said...

LOVE your blog! Please write a book!!!! :)

Annah said...

Such heartfelt words, and what descriptive prose....

mise said...

Quiet camp. That's where I'd be, peeking happily out at the jollity. Perhaps with a small tray of those homebaked cakes that I'd have airily carried off, explaining that there were 25 of us here in the quiet camp, so we needed lots of cake. Really there'd only be me - I'd have told everyone else about an even quieter camp in the next field.

denise said...

Perfect.

Paddy said...

Sorry we missed the final salute to the solstice.
We thought of B as Emma said. He will be missed by all.

jaboopee said...

sorry not to have made it ciara, , but as i alluded to in the email , our presence was best felt as opposed to smelt ! looks really lovely, hopefully next year ....

Jill said...

Very beautiful words.

Sara said...

Such a beautiful celebration. Friends, family, connections... children growing up... we growing older. Remembering and being grateful. It is all that it should be. It is perfect. xx

Rebecca S. said...

We've had the same variable weather, but when it cooperates, the days are that much sweeter for the gratitude I feel. Your descriptions of growing families being marked by this yearly celebration are poignant, for I am going through the same wonder and awe with my own. Happy summer!

Deirdre said...

Gorgeous photos Ciara. The fire was lit just as we were leaving,really sorry to have missed it.:-(

affectioknit said...

Happy Solstice to you! So sorry about your friend - Blessings and Peace...

Vanilla Press said...

Hey there Ciara,
Thanks for checking up on me on my blog, nice to be missed!
I love your post, & I look forward to keeping up with you again.
Take care
Jas
x

Deborah said...

sorry I could not have shared it with you darlin...you were in my thoughts all day. i also released a fire lantern for dad that night and thought of you,B and l,m and j .xxx

marty and sharon said...

i couldnt have said it better myself! thank you so much for welcoming us into your home and lives and for being part of your special celebrations. i hope we are an annual part of it now! must return the favour somewhat... s x