Photo credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mustela_nivalis_-British_Wildlife_Centre-4.jpg
One Summer Solstice morning, many years ago, T and I set off to watch the sun rise from a nearby hilltop. As we were still living in Essex at that time, there weren't an awful lot of hills to choose from, but we had carefully scouted out some east-facing fields in an elevated position that we hoped would give us a good vantage point.
It was still dark when we rose and threw on some clothes in preparation for our adventure; I grabbed a small pack containing a few ritual tools and some food and drink. We made our way out into the pre-dawn quiet and found our way into the field by torchlight, waiting expectantly in the damp chill. When the much anticipated sunrise came, it was an anticlimax. Instead of the bright golden rays I had expected, clouds blurred the horizon and the sky lightened slowly into a disappointingly grey and indistinct dawn.
Nevertheless, it was still the Summer Solstice: I drew the items I had brought with us from my pack, murmured a blessing and made a small offering to the sun, including some fruit and a small libation of mead which I left at the edge of the wheat growing in the field. We sat to eat some food ourselves and that was when the magic happened...
A movement at the edge of the wheat, close to where I had left our offering caught my eye. Only a few metres from where we sat, a small weasel appeared - apparently unafraid - and eyed us curiously. We both froze, not wanting to scare it away. The slender animal sniffed the air, completely unperturbed by our presence. Suddenly, it leaped into the air, twisting its long lithe body mid-air into a kind of somersault, landed with perfect agility and shot back into the wheat - before immediately running back out again, doubling back, leaping and twisting and capering in what appeared to be a joyous gymnastic dance. We held our breath as the weasel danced an exuberant celebration of life for precious moments, until suddenly it disappeared back into the standing wheat, and we were back in the everyday world of a grey June morning.
I have heard that weasels 'war dance' to confuse their prey before attacking, but there were no prey animals around. Perhaps it was a young animal practising and honing its hunting skills. But I like to think on that Solstice morning it was just dancing for the sheer delight of it, in celebration of life and summer and all that's good.
We may not have witnessed the awe-inspiring sunrise we had hoped for, but instead we experienced something more amazing and magical than we could have imagined. It felt like a special blessing, something I'll never forget. Moreover I learned something very important that day: The magic you go looking for may not be the magic you find - but that's all part of the magic.
May you find your own magic this Summer Solstice. Blessed Be!