Handsome men had earnest discussions by the fireside in time-honoured fashion (although I have reason to believe they may have been discussing computer games)
and the children's energy outlasted the dogs' as they charged up and down from fire to orchard, with only minor incidents (e.g. "Mummeeee, he's weeing on my leg!").
On the actual (calendar) solstice, I found this happening in our pond:
I knew these were Red Eyed Damselflies, but I couldn't understand what they were doing. Before they landed on this grass head, they were flying around with her dangling off his, um, tail (?) and it looked most peculiar!
Turns out (having consulted my friendly local ecologist who usefully was in my living room), he (on top) was depositing a package of sperm on the back of her neck (feminism is slow in the damselfly world, but at least she doesn't have hair to worry about) which would then slide down her back (there MUST be a better way, surely) and fertilise her eggs as she laid them in water, later that day.
Afterwards, she flew off and he rested on a leaf for a bit, eyed hungrily by one of our little frogs, who is just a bit too small for such long fare.
That solstice evening, we marched up the hill we live on (me panting quite a bit with no-longer-very-Ickle Pickle on my back) and sat enjoying the mixed skies and reflecting on the view of the hill across the valley, where Ent and I got married in October 2009. We still chuckle about making everyone walk up that hill.
And I had a quiet moment for my lost boy. The prayers I have said between these stones...
The dark clouds blundered across us without spilling and we celebrated the turn of the light-tide with cider, chocolate and a fab aeroplane - Jason's Fathers Day present. (Ent received a magnifying bug viewer - a tie would only be a comedy gift around here!)
And best of all, better even than chocolate, is the fact that my girl believes the whole world lives like this, that it's normal to play music around fires; watch life happen in your own garden pond; climb a hill with friends and gaze out over miles and miles of green.
Right now I'm struggling with symptoms of a chronic auto-immune disease and sometimes that weighs down my mood, but then I have days like this and I am so grateful for all the good things in my life. My hope is that such good things find you as the shadows roll in (or out, down there).