The moment when planet Earth reaches its maximum axial tilt toward the sun is just a few days away. Though we think of the summer solstice as something that occurs on a day (21 June, this year) it actually only lasts a single and fleeting moment. After the moment passes, the hours of daylight, having reached their longest length, will again begin to shrink towards their shortest length come winter.
Summer solstice is said to be all about abundance, nature, and fertility. This past weekend we visited a garden just outside of Seoul with over 50,000 species of flowering plants and it felt as though we were drunk on summer. Surrounded by all those blooms and the creatures the blooms attract, including humans, it felt as if Nature was indeed abundant and fertile, overflowing unto itself. The air was thick and hot and heavy, the blooms were fragrant, and the sun was bright. It was gorgeous.
We walked through the garden and literally took time to stop and smell the flowers. It was so incredibly nourishing to be outside, surrounded by the beauty of nature, and it felt as though Nature was generously offering us this beautiful gift of summer; a feast for the eyes and the nose. And perhaps the fact that we know it is fleeting, that we’ll have to wait another year to see the Earth in such bloom, makes us appreciate it even more.
Many long-time yoga practitioners will tell you that the more in tune they are with the rhythms of Nature, the more abundant their lives become. I think we tend to associate the word abundance with excess. To have an abundance of something often means to have too much. But summer very beautifully demonstrates that abundance is not complicated. The Earth explodes with an abundance of life and yet it is quite simple. Water, soil, sun, and as little interference from humans as possible. That’s it. The less we interfere with nature, the more we can enjoy abundance and simplicity. And isn’t that what we all say we want, for life to be simple?
I recently read a great quote:
The longing for simplicity is a spiritual longing. Asking physical things to meet spiritual needs does not work.
We crave simplicity and dread complication (or at least we want to) because it is the way of nature and we are always more in tune with the spirit when we are in tune with nature. Spending our summer working at a slower pace, taking time to enjoy the abundance of the Earth, and simply being in nature is spiritually fulfilling in a way that no amount of physical things ever could be.
So, I wish you all a beautiful, spiritually-fulfilling, and utterly unproductive and simple summer, as well as abundance and joy.