Summer Solstice A Time of Honoring

Published 10:28 am Friday, June 27, 2008

After a breathtaking Spring I welcome the grandeur of our maturing plants and wildlife. Young squirrels are everywhere, adventurously exploring their new World. Numerous species of birds have already successfully raised offspring or are in the process of. And, a beautiful pair of cardinals are raising 3 babies, in a holly tree, outside my dining room window…what a treat! Im amazed and inspired with their dedication and their willingness to share the responsibility of caring for their young. Nature is truly a remarkable teacher.
To traditional cultures, including most of ours, (if you care to go back far enough) the Summer Solstice was a time rich with gratitude and celebration. The hot days of Summer, coupled with rain, ensured the maturity of their crops and the promise of a productive harvest. The Cherokees, for instance, would gather and Fast for several days before the Solstice to honor, pray and show appreciation for the gifts they would receive. Ive been fortunate to be a part of these celebrations in the past and have been deeply moved by the experience.
The Moon is nearly full at the moment as we move toward the beginning of Summer this Saturday, June 21st. The gravitational pull of the Moon affects all of Earths inhabitants. Butterflies are appearing in large numbers and, along with our honeybees, are busy gathering nectar and pollinating numerous crops and wild plants. Also, keep your eye out for an increase in animal activity, which should be at a peak for a few days before and after the Solstice. Trout fishing in the Pacolet River should be very good too. Remember to keep your presentations subtle and youll have some success.
Most of the Wild Edible plants of Spring have gone to seed. Violet and dandelion leaves are still available, but are maturing quickly. Lambs quarters, one of our best wild greens are abundant and readily available. When cooked like spinach, the taste and nutrition is second to none. Ive been eating quite a few clover and dandelion fritters lately as well. I dip the flowers in egg and dust them with whole wheat flower before frying them lightly in olive oil. Drain them on paper towels and dip them in honey, while hot, and youll have a tasty treat that even the kids will eat! And, its healthy too. Many wild berries are beginning to develop also, but right now Mulberry trees are laden with fruit and are absolutely delicious!
Gather up the family this Friday and Saturday evening, have a cookout, catch some lightning bugs and play under the star-filled sky. The moon should be magnificent. I cant imagine a better way to spend an evening with the people you Love…can you?
Happy Summer

Richard lives in Tryon and teaches outdoor programs at Earth School. He is a self-trained Naturalist and a local fishing and nature guide. For info about his programs visit

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