crape myrtles (also spelled crepe) in the soft sunlight, flirting their lavender colors and making me look......or maybe the way the growing cumulonimbus clouds are piling up in the southwest of the city; their ominous and silent blue-grey monstrosities puffing along slowly, as if by their pace, they cannot be seen. I saw them. I felt them....and a beat of excitement that my plants and I might get to enjoy some afternoon rain (foiled again, it's super sunny now!) I actually think what started it was seeing the two fairy rings that I passed on the Elysian Fields avenue neutral ground while driving home. Below is a random internetz image of a fairy ring.
My thoughts surfaced to the fact that today is the Summer Solstice (the solstice will occur at 7:09 EST, June 20, 2012, tonight) and that I had only seen one picture flitting around Twitter and Facebook today of Stonehenge in the sunrise or sunset of a solstice......and it was from 2008! I've posted it below this blog post - it's from the Astronomy Picture of the Day archive (APOD).
Stonehenge has a number of legends associated with it. One is that sun-worshipping people could communicate with the sun and built Stonehenge out of sacred stones to help them. Another is that there was a race of giants upon the Earth long before men and places such a Stonehenge and Easter Island show evidence of structures built by these giants.
Arthurian legends as well. Then, there are the more common myths surrounding the ancient Britons' group of philosopher/poets called the Druids. According to JStor excerpts from Stuart Piggot's "The Druids and Stonehenge", there was an actual Celtic priesthood of Druids that believed in some sort of immortality and the transmigration of souls. They had rituals fairly often. Druids did also practice human sacrifice in some cases and they performed ceremonies of all kinds outside in circles of standing stones, the largest and most important of which was Stonehenge.
"Archaeologists have found four, or possibly five, large Mesolithic postholes (one may have been a natural tree throw), which date to around 8000 BC, beneath the nearby modern tourist car-park" (wiki)
Ok that's just cool. Anyway, the point........is that many people barely consider legends anymore. How often do you think of fairy rings, solstice magic, sacred rituals, other worlds and souls transforming? How often do we feel the magic of the sun? More often, we feel the heat of it here in NOLA.
I will go ahead and say it now: I much prefer a world with elements of magical things and occasional fantastic ideas that transcend what we can academically understand. I love the superstitions, legends, and myths they create. I also love sci-fi movies :-) Since I often notice unusual things and am distracted by them, taking time to ponder their significance has become a joy. I can remember in undergraduate college when I was walking across campus at night with a group of chattering friends on the way to the old McMaster Music Bldg at USC (THE USC, 1801), I made the whole group stop and look at the clouds passing across the full moon. They were in awe......for about five seconds. For me, however, the image has always stayed and I am perpetually in awe of the full moon. I look up at the sky.....and I do it often. I encourage you to do it as well. "Don't forget to stop and smell the roses" as they say. Perhaps it's the inner amateur photographer in me that captures images and holds them for ponderance and perhaps too, it is the romantic in me. Long live romanticism!
Not to discount facts and figures......after all, I am a nerd, I saw a fantastic Google plus blog by the Solar Dymanics Observatory's Camilla Corona (the most awesome chicken you'll ever meet!) that was full of information to help us understand today's reasons for the season and what a solstice actually is. Check it out here and learn about today's solstice LINK HERE
Enougth rambling for now I suppose. It's time for a spinach salad. But first, here's that fantastic summer solstice image to which I referred earlier:
Sunrise Solstice at Stonehenge
Credit & Copyright: Max Alexander, STFC, SPL