The petals are falling off the Blackberry blossoms as the fruits begin to form.
Just as Yule marks the return of the light, Midsummer marks the return of the darkness, which will come first in the sweet flesh of summer fruit and then in the dryness of seed.
Its in this liminal time that I seek intimacy with dying things.
My friend Kathleen Maier speaks about how our culture doesn't teach us how to give death to things. So we carry our grief with us and it gets heavy and weighs us down. Something I know all too well as a watery person who has spent most of my life burying emotion deep and holding it tightly -- even when the phlegm of grief clogged my lungs, and my liver grew hot and congested from the anger I refused to feel, and the tension of trying to hold it all in made my blood pressure rise.
Kathleen says that she makes time to grieve each year at the Autumn Equinox, releasing sadness and pain, giving death to that which has been lost, so that she will not need to carry it into winter's darkness.
In the space that is opened, new seeds can be planted, waiting to be wakened by sun and rain in springtime. (Which, here on Vancouver Island, begins at Imbolc.)
For me, though, this year, Midsummer is the time to begin letting go of what I no longer want or need to give my life-force to, so I can reclaim it for the work I choose and the pleasure I desire in this world.
There is still enough light that I will not be overwhelmed by darkness -- remembering how pneumonia struck me last year at Samhain and at Yule when I waited until the nights were long and dark to begin turning inward. But the dying of the year has already begun, so I will not be swimming against the tide.
In the cool, dark of the woods, Ghost Pipe is beginning to emerge, opening the way to the world beneath the forest floor.
But at the edge of the field, the last wild Roses still bloom, calling me back home with their sweetness when I begin to dive too deep.
The same gate opens in both directions.
What will you give death to here in Midsummer's dying light, that it might return to the earth before its time for seeds to fall to the ground?