“It is the June Solstice wherever you go today,” I wrote last week. In the Northern Hemisphere we observe the Summer Solstice and in the Southern Hemisphere the Winter Solstice is observed. Like everything humans do, there is some disagreement about what this means, except that old Sol aligns with the Tropic of Cancer.
I live in Tucson, Arizona, so for me that means that June is the height of the dry Summer. Summer Solstice is definitely the middle of summer in my book. The monsoons usually start in July during which time the humidity spikes while temperatures remain quite high.
This has been an unusual year, weather-wise. Spring often is only evident here by the blooms of plants. Here is southern Arizona we say that, “The ice breaks on the Santa Cruz River” the first day it reaches 100 degrees F. It usually happens in April, but this year it was mid-May before we hit a hundred; it was on May 17th, my birthday, June 17, our wedding anniversary, often records temperatures well over 110 degrees. I do not remember what the temperature was last week on the 17th. That information was lost, completely overwritten, with the slaughter of nine good people at Bible study at Mother Emanuel in Charleston, SC by a hateful, domestic terrorist.
I often wish others, “Happy Solstice.” The main reason I am pleased when Mid-Summer arrives is that the monsoons will soon arrive.
But this year there is a pall over the anniversaries and celestial celebrations that has finally broken through my resolve to exclude sadness from this time of year. I am tired of being parched. It is so dry around here that things can mummify. That can put one in a foul mood. In these days of air conditioners, central air, evaporative cooling, and electric fans it is rather hard to explain why I am living in a hot-house. It is not for the plants. My husband and I are trying to stay on budget and pay off all debt. Obviously to do this we cannot accumulate more debt. So we are limping along with a 20-year-old A/C unit that needs to be replaced. There are parts of our home that will not get below 80 degrees. That makes me a bit irritable too. We will pay cash for a new unit when a tax return is generated for us; did I tell you that some thief filed our taxes for us this year?
With the already evident climatic fluctuations caused by the increase in overall global temperatures, what the future holds for us here is not promising.
Then there is this year’s unsuccessful attempt to push back the memories that come forward every year near the anniversary of my mother’s death. June 25th.
I was to have a Grand Opening for the Women’s Legacy Project on June 25th. But I just could not finish the last bits and pieces of the remaining tasks. Thoughts about religion and racist beliefs have been on my mind constantly these past 10 days and that is not conducive to the concentration needed for a few more launch tasks. Looks like September is the next window for an opening.
Where does protected public expression of your beliefs end and imposition of your beliefs on others begin? It starts way before the killing of 9 good people. I do not say any pledges to flags. I do not support any organized religion. Personal faith is another matter and should be kept personal. But everyone believe they are right. In this area I just do not know, but I do know that freedoms granted by the constitution allow me to do business in public and have my private beliefs.
I will not actively or passively support the public imposition of a religion that was conceptualized at the same time that human sacrifice was practiced. Abraham was going to ritually slaughter his son. Perverse. I am just as suspicious of beliefs related to these practices as I am of any system that has incorporated ritual sacrifice of living creatures. I am extremely uncomfortable with patriarchal, segmentary lineage beliefs and practices that trace to North Africa 5,000 years ago.
Faith is a decision, said Mother Teresa.
Mysticism is “belief that union with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or the spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect, may be attained through contemplation and self-surrender.”
I have had mystical experiences and from those I have decided to have faith. But I do not want to impose my beliefs on others. That is one of the reasons I like written words so much. We can choose not to read. But please do not expect me to quietly support your ritual practices in my presence unless I have willingly and overtly made a decision to participate in them. Flag flying, a behavior, can be a very dangerous thing. One thing can stand for another. One thing can represent another. One thing often points to other things.
Love and grace are real to me. Everything else is questionable. Even summer and winter depends on where you are standing. I stand firm in my understanding that everything is relative.