Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Longest Day

MIdsummer - even before I publicly acknowledged that I am a witch, this was my favorite day of the year. The day the sun stays with us the longest - I dunno why - has always been a magical day for me.

I can remember when I was a kid laying on my neighbor's lawn (they had the best lawn), staring at the sky and watching the clouds. My brother, friends and I would shout out what we saw up above - summer was so magical then. We could stay out late. Ride our bikes all over the neighborhood. Run through the sprinkler, and then make mud pies in the gutter - and we were free until mom called us back inside after the sun went down.

Summer seemed like an endless present of sunny days, bathing suits, and watermelon. On very special days, my mom would drop us off at the theater, where we would see a double-feature. On other special days, she'd drop us off at the Lagoon, and we'd spend all day splashing in the muddy water. The rest of the time, we hung out with the neighborhood kids, playing games, roller skating, dressing up - whatever, really - it didn't matter, because we didn't have to go to school.

Summer isn't as magical to me now as it was then, with the exception of midsummer. On this day, I can feel the magic of yesteryear as clearly now as I did when I was eight years old. I can still feel the sticky sweat on my forehead, taste the refreshing sweetness of a cold Coke on a red hot day, and hear the sounds of the neighborhood kids chanting "Red Rover, Red Rover..." It's as if no time has past - but of course, it has. Lots of it, in fact.

We held our ritual outdoors and burned an effigy of the Sun God. We toasted the sun with wine and feasted on hot dogs, salads, and chocolate cake. And as the sun made its way down, we sat around the fire and talked about our future, together and apart. We were united underneath the sun of the longest day, and magic surrounded us.

I hope I never lose my fascination with midsummer, for it's the one day of the year I can count on in which the veil is lifted and I am once again eight-years-old, with no cares in the world whatsoever. I see fairies and shooting stars and clouds shaped like bunnies. I feel love and joy and complete freedom...that is, until mom calls me back home to face the reality that is the mundane, everyday world of home life.

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