Summer Solstice, Summer Storm
At about nine o’clock Monday night I stood in the middle of the front yard and took in the magic. Over my right shoulder the sun was smearing her last flush of pink and orange across the horizon, a long narrow stretch of luminous light kissing the tops of the pine trees. Over my left shoulder the moon, round and gold as a double eagle, was already floating in dark blue sky.
It is an odd sensation, experiencing sunset and moonrise simultaneously. Turn to the right and it is still day; to the left and it is already night. Look straight ahead, across the field where the first green of cotton is struggling to find its way to the surface, and it is neither and both. Right here, in this spot, one is certain to be unsure about things.
Three nights ago a storm came through, brought down a tree that felled a power line. Sandhill lost electricity for about six hours. It was still daylight when the power went out so there was no disorienting dive into darkness. No sudden loss of depth perception. No need for candles or flashlights. But it was hot. The high had been 97 degrees. It would not take long for the house to heat up, so I opened the front and back doors and a wave of cool air rushed in, a train barreling its way through a tunnel.
I went to the front door, sat down on the threshold, pulled my knees up to my chest, and listened to the sounds of the storm – tree limbs rattling, leaves shuffling, windchimes shaking like a jig doll. I read a couple of magazines, ate the salad I had somehow presciently picked up on my way home, and waited. Waited for the darkness to fall. Waited for the lights to come back on. Waited to be released from my post there on the threshold.
It is an odd word, threshold. Its etymology is questionable, its use infrequent. A noun rarely spoken except in conjunction with the verb to cross. A threshold lies between, neither here nor there, fish nor fowl. A place where the decision is yet to be made, the step yet to be taken, consequences yet to be engaged.
The threshold is also not a comfortable to place to remain for long. My legs were cramped. My back was stiff. I stood up slowly and stretched. It was time to light the candles.
That is what I am remembering on the full moon summer solstice. Comparing the colors of the day star to those of the evening light I realize that I am standing on yet another threshold, another in-between place. Is it day or night? Am I coming in or going out? Am I holding on or letting go?
I have no idea. That is what the voice in my head says in response to the questions: I have no idea. And as I hear that voice, the breath I’ve been holding flies off across the yard like a fairy. As I hear that voice – my voice – I suddenly understand that I am brave enough, strong enough, wise enough to stand in the threshold, to stay in the uncomfortable, uncertain place for as long as it takes. For as long as it takes for the day to become night and the night to become day again, for the leaving to become arriving, for the holding on and letting go to become one wide embrace of all that is.