For many days the sun shone and the air was crisp and dry. Not so these last few days. No sun and nothing dry. Human placed a tarp over our garden cart so we can get out of the rain. The soil is so soggy that there is no where to dust bath; even sitting on our feet is impossible without getting our bellies wet!
When the rain does stop we go wading in the puddles fishing for worms and other bugs who are trying to escape drowning only to be eaten.
In the night it is also wet and not too warm. Human comes into our coop and plucks us off the roost forcing all 4 of us to perch inside the play house. Yes it is warmer and much dryer but did she have to shine her light in our eyes?!
Human is letting Nature take her course and has stopped giving Kate a bum bath. Zena and Emma chase Kate away from the best morsels Human tosses out but she still survives. I feel a little compassion for her as a foster chick and we tend to stand together when not actively engaged in foraging.
The Sun brightens the sky and I awake. My days are filled with the hunt for food. And when I’m not pecking and scratching for food, I lay in the Sun, stretching my wings and legs to let the warmth penetrate feathers to my skin. In the evening when the Sun sets and it is once again dark, I rest. The Sun is my timepiece and its movement guides everything I do. For me, Life is all about the Sun and its power to nurture Earth’s children, making things grow.
The seasons change slowly but if you are very observant, you will notice the difference in how the Sun shines. In the cold time of the year the Sun rises as always but it never gets too high in the sky. Nor is it as warm as in the hot time of the year when the Sun blasts down unrelenting heat. There is a day in the cold time that my Human companion calls Solstice. This is when the Sun shines for the shortest amount of time in the whole year. Human celebrates Solstice not for the shortness of the day but because it marks the Sun’s return to longer and warmer days. Days when Human will tend her garden to bring forth Earth’s gifts. The journey of the Sun rules us all.
It is this Solstice that my Human celebrates with fervor. She decorates her coop with evergreen branches and candles. There is the rich smell of cooking food wafting in the air whenever the door to Human’s coop opens. I run to that door for my share of whatever Human doles out to me. Bread, cooked vegetables, fresh fruit and milk are the bounty she gives me on this Solstice Eve.
There are cut oranges and plenty of seed for the wild birds. Every living being in the area of our home is honored with treats. My best treat is a seed cake made from the fat of a four-legged animal, cracked corn, millet and oats. Human makes up a huge cake for me and I chase away the wild birds so I can have it all.
In my part of our land, Human sets out candles in paper bags filled with sand that she will light on Solstice night. These little flames are token mirrors of the Sun’s power and act as a reminder that without the Sun all would be darkness and cold. Life as we know it would not be. It is a powerful connection with times past when there was only fire to light the night.
Inside the hearth fire burns brightly; music and song fill the air. Laughter comes from Human’s coop as the day draws to an end and Solstice Night begins. She has invited friends to share her cooking and enjoy the lighted bags. And of course, they all must come to my coop to say hello, shining lights at me so that in the sudden brightness I object with a caw of disapproval. This too is part of the annual ritual.
Solstice harkens to the first ones to inhabit the Earth, those who found joy in merely being alive. There is no artifice in celebrating the Return of the Sun. Gifts are given from the heart, freely and often without monetary cost. You do what you can with what you have. There is none of the tension or angst as in the other holidays celebrated at this time of the year. Try it, I as I do; lay in the Sun on the day of Solstice Eve and connect with that part of you perhaps lost while hurrying to be somewhere else.
Human sent my story to her newspaper so you might get to see this twice! Enjoy the days to come for they are filled with brightness.