It has been a strange week. T had taken time off work to finish painting the house, a job he started last summer but didn't get completed before the autumn weather closed in. Unfortunately he chose the wrong week. It has rained, rained and then rained again. He erected the scaffolding for the job last weekend, and yesterday he finally admitted defeat and took it down, unused. Of course, today the sun finally came out.
Yesterday was the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, when the sun is at its peak (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere that is). From now on, the days will gradually shorten, imperceptibly at first. Although it's hard to grasp right now, with summer really getting into her stride, we are re-entering the dark half of the year. For the sun, it's all down hill from here.
It has made me think about balance and imbalance. For the last week or so I feel like I've been way out of balance - at full stretch, trying to juggle so many projects and tasks that at times I've felt completely overwhelmed. Each day has been completely filled with activity, carrying on until bedtime and resuming early the next morning. It's been the same for T; although he hasn't been able to get on with painting the house as he planned, he still has a huge mountain of other tasks to work on - getting our wind generator up and running, chopping & stacking the wood from the trees felled by winter gales, and remodelling our kitchen just to name a few. As a result, the week of him being at home that we were both looking forward to has ended up with us hardly seeing each other. And I know that when we have been together, I've mostly been stressed and tetchy.
Yesterday I hosted a Summer Solstice Ritual for members of my local Pagan Moot. It was something I'd committed to before things got so crazy, and I didn't want to cancel - although it was tempting at times. I've been wanting to build Pagan community here, celebrate the Wheel of the Year with others, make connections. Of course, like all the best-laid plans it didn't quite work out as I'd expected: for one thing the awful weather meant my lovingly conceived outdoor ritual had to be scrapped and another put together at pretty short notice. Being forced to celebrate indoors also meant that far from enjoying the beauty and serenity of the June garden my guests had to negotiate the building site that currently passes for my kitchen. No matter. The living room was beautifully decorated with vases of flowers, draped saris, representations of the elements and deities, and candles and incense. The ritual went smoothly and a good time was had by all. We may even do it again!
Late to bed, I had an amazing dream, in which a beautiful pure white swallow nestled trustingly in my hands. I was filled with the most amazing feeling of serenity and calm, just knowing that everything would be alright.
I awoke this morning feeling calm. Although I still have a mountain of things to do, and I probably should be worrying myself into a lather about the Summer Gathering, the new bees, the slugs and rabbits in the vegetable patch and the state of the kitchen, somehow I can't. T and I have worked hard today, but for the first time all week we have also made time for ourselves and each other. We picked summer berries in the sun together, ate lunch together, had proper conversations, and smiled and laughed together.
I am lucky to have such a wonderful husband, who has taken time to help me with my workload even while struggling with his own, has held my hand and calmed me when I've got overwhelmed and tearful, listened to my woes, and last night endured a houseful of strangers celebrating a festival he doesn't really 'get' - all because he knows it's important to me. I'm so lucky to have him keeping me balanced even when everything else seems way off-kilter. I hope I do the same for him.