Solar Midlife Bash


  • Field bindweed has lovely and abundant blooms.  It grows profusely anywhere _ especially gardens.  It can overrun cultivated spaces and plants, choking them out, as kudzu is reported to do in the south.  Pretty much like civilization itself.
  • No matter how much I patrol and pull, bindweed never goes away.  I guess it gets delivered by birds.  It’s like a miniature version of Jack’s beanstalk _ jumping up from nothing to feet long overnight.  Why this, ragweed, and kudzu have not taken over the entire world is a mystery _ but you get more understanding of farmer’s use of herbicides when fighting this more intimate battle.


  • Just barely possible to make out light green berries ripening on this cedar tree _ too high up to get a close shot.  Most of the trees are setting fruit by now, using all the extra energy available into trying to start a new generation.   Trees seem to be the most patient of Earth’s inhabitants, but they have to rush along during solstice like everything else.
  • No outside stone alters around here _ at least none that I know of _ and I doubt if any of the neighbors are getting up at five or so in the morning to catch a glimpse of a rising sun.  They’d be disappointed today in any case, because the clouds are thick.  But the exact moment of the sun’s northern apogee is far less important than the fact that it is occurring, and we will be hurtling back again towards the long darkness in another six months.


  • Cascading flowers bursting like a fireworks finale.  Sun beams benevolently, as it has steadily for billions of years.  Hard to believe this beautiful four-o-clock is a weed.  Harder to believe that it and humans are closely related.  Both species the end products of eons of adaptation, survival, and change.  Closer examination of cell structure and energy cycles yield even more wonders than the external appearance of this marvelous bloom.
  • In my high school, not all that long ago in years but a medieval era in biological knowledge, genetic mapping was in its infancy.   It was even possible to believe in ancient multiple spontaneous generations of life, at least of single-celled organisms.  Today, a miraculously tight web of tensions, patterns, and chromosomal control binds even plants and animals into a single family, with far less differentiation at the lowest and most important levels of cell division and organization than we should reasonably expect.  Life on Earth may or may not be unique in the universe, but there is no remaining doubt that on this planet everything alive is a close cousin, all tied to that sun which for all intents and purposes has remained eternally unchanged, birthday after birthday. 


  • Pale blue chicory is a reliable indicator that summer has arrived to stay.  It adjusts to the variations in seasons, and when the blooms finally appear not only is frost gone, but also most chilled evenings and mornings.  The scraggly stems and leaves win no prizes, and it is sometimes hard to understand how a structure so skimpy can support flowers so beautiful.  Blue is a welcome color in a landscape filled with yellow, red, and green.
  • I always had a strong affinity for chicory, a hardy individualistic plant that thrives on the most unpromising soil.  It never grows in massive stands like ragweed, chokes out no other plants, makes do magnificently with what is available.  When an area becomes too fertile and crowded, it moves on.  I think that if I were a plant, I might be like that.


  • For those with fortunate lives, the everyday world seems intensely beautiful.  Nobody can deny pain, worry, fear, and helpless anger.  Loveliness is not a panacea for all cares of the human condition but it can be medicinal.  Ignoring such simple joy to do “more important things” eventually shrivels the soul.
  • I have fallen much into slothful ways as I accept aging.  Throughout my life I tried to appreciate my environment even in the midst of the necessary rush of work and family.  Now there is more time for contemplation, and acceptance that a view like this could hardly be improved. 


  • Clouds, mist, fog, rain, snow _ all aspects of th
    e same phenomenon _ seem to be antagonists of a beautiful day.  They are as much creations of the sun as golden beams on a beach.  Identical viewpoints during such varied conditions may hardly seem related.  An artist could emphasize the beauty in each, maybe increase our appreciation.
  • I once considered art a capture of the extraordinary, but I now realize that its main value is in helping me experience the ordinary.  When meditation quiets my inner voice,  what remains is susceptible to re-enchantment with the world as it exists, not as I imagine it to be.  When art captures my soul, it opens me to what a true miracle a raindrop represents.


  • As e.e. cummings happily announced, each day is the sun’s birthday.  In the north temperate zone, an environment shared by ancient Druids and current Huntington residents, the annual solar birthday is also crucial.  At summer solstice the mighty golden orb is renewing all life where once winter had triggered dormancy awaiting the hopeful return of the lifegiver.  In that respect, this is a midlife party, when one is full of directed energy and authority, not yet tinged with possible diminishment,  a time for cheering and celebration and belief that the status quo  can continue nearly forever.
  • For many years, I adhered to our technical schedules of school and business _ relative calm in the summer, dreams and plans in the fall,  heads down work in winter, and feverish reevaluation and attempts to complete tasks in the spring _ almost the opposite of the cycle of our farming ancestors, but perhaps more in tune with that of even more ancient hunter-gatherers.

As a nature bonus today, I include an (amateurish) quick shot of an osprey nest newly constructed on a boat in the harbor, and also a link to whales sighted around here memorial day ( .  Whether these are oddities or harbingers has yet to be determined.