Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bonfire, Summer Solstice 2015

Dusk was arriving in the North Country on the longest day of the year. The crescent moon rose in the southwest sky. Venus, her bright companion, close by. I heard the drumming from a distance. A crowd of over a hundred blocked the view of the fire from afar. Closer an inner ring of dancers moved this way and that. A slim tall man in a blue mask did a low, angular dance engaging the fire. A pretty girl in a belly dancing outfit shimmied and glimmered in the flickering light. The many drums changed their cadence from time to time and cheers and whoops came up from the crowd. A chant was started by a small group up front, but the words weren't clear, so no one joined in. The moon peeked in and out of the wispy clouds. The fire was low and very hot. Fire keepers held their posts holding shovels and rakes. Three skinny teenaged girls tried to get a circle dance going, but were discouraged by them. In any case, the circle was too tight and the fire too hot for that. I was dancing and toasting. I shed a layer and turned my back to the flames. I remembered a Native American sweat lodge I'd attended. Soon I dropped back to the outer rings into the cool night air. I'd just finished reading "The Druids" by Peter Berresford Ellis this very day. The solstice festivals were the major events of the Celtic Europe. I envisioned Stonehenge and an Arc-Druid in long robes, his staff in his hand, young girls dancing hypnotically with flowers in their long hair, their bare legs flashing in the firelight. Drenched in sweat I decided it was time to go. The youngish crowd would continue into the night. I'd had my moment honoring the path of the Earth around the sun and my Scottish ancestors.