I woke up on the first day of summer barely aware that it was the Summer Solstice. Year after year, I am vaguely aware but I miss the planned celebrations happening all around me.
On this week, every year, we spend time up at Fisherman’s Island State Campground. While a rustic campground is not for everyone, we love it for a few reasons;
- We have an RV that with the help of a generator and advanced planning can carry electricity, running water (including a toilet and shower), and a warm, waterproof space to sleep.
- My work involves using all of my empathetic, connective superpowers on a daily basis so isolation with minimal risk of running into anyone I might know is seriously, like heaven.
- My children, my entire family actually, are just better humans in the wild. We connect more. Spend more time looking in each other’s eyes. We show each other tiny things like leopard slugs, blue pieces of sea glass, baby asparagus plants – all of these things were on the list during this trip.
However, in our 5th year visiting the same area, we were all feeling restless with some of our favorite spots. We love all of our old haunts but we all felt a bit dissatisfied this year and none of us were sure why. So I started researching new things for us to do in the Charlevoix area.
I found that we were 25 minutes away from Michigan’s largest lavender farm. I’m not sure how I managed to never discover that in the previous 4 years of visits to this area.
We headed over with a cooler of drinks, a beach bag with our suits and towels, and some chairs. I was hoping for a beach stop at some point. So far, Lake Michigan was for real, uncooperative. Beaches are under water and the breeze chilly.
As we arrived, I cautioned my children,
Please be patient with momma. I know this may not be your thing but I love lavender, farms, and all things made there.
They obliged. Probably because of the chill breezes of lavender.
We walked the labrynth breathing it all in. We read the names of different kinds and I ran my fingers through them to see if I could smell the difference between them.
We walked the farm holding hands and talking. We guessed about the reasons for flags in the ground and the names of plants in the fields. We bickered. Because we’re a real family and not perfect. None of us remember what we bickered about.
We visited the gift shop where I got lots of ideas for new ways to use the 3 plants I planted in my own garden.
We ate delicious Michigan-made ice cream flavored with lavender. My favorite was the Lemon Lavender but everyone else agreed that Levi chose the best one, Blueberry Lavender.
I stand by my choice.
Oh, and we got shortbread cookies. They were delicious. Especially after dipping them into the ice cream. I left daydreaming about what a lemon-lavendar soda poured over vanilla ice cream would taste like.
Then we went to Boyne State Park and attempted yet another beach. I started giggling about how desperate all the beach goers were in Michigan. Sunning ourselves in chilly breezes on tiny ribbons of sand next to ice cold water. Beaches of desperation.
Later, Paul built an enormous fire. I had to scoot my chair back to avoid sparks and scalded skin. With my face warmed by the fire, I thought about how every year, we spend our Summer Solstice in nature. We stand in the water, build fires, hike or bike in the sunshine, and breath in air that smells like the sea. All while holding a vague awareness that this season is the welcoming in of summer. Longer days inch into the longest day while we love each other and the earth we belong to.
At some point during the day, I caught myself thinking that we didn’t set intentions, practice fancy rituals, or say the right prayers but didn’t we?
We breathed in and then dined on peace and tranquility for ourselves and our family at a lavender farm.
We set intentions for flexibility and resourcefulness at the beaches of desperation where we kept trying to make sunbathing happen.
We set intentions for focus and conjured rewards by seeking and finding sea glass over and over.
We set intentions for generosity when we chose not to take from nature, leaving beachwood and seashells where they laid. We conjured satisfaction without greed by whispering, we have enough.
We sat in a circle and burned it all into place with a fire big enough to warm all our sides.
We choose ourselves and each other in communal acts of #militantselfcare.
We fell asleep full. Full of one another (for better or for worse), full of food, full of mischief, full of love, and full of hope.
And this is how we accidentally celebrate the Summer Solstice year after year.
I think we may be magic.
PS – What’s your biggest prayer, intention, or goal for this summer of long, warm days?