Solstice Shadow

I woke at 4:53 on the morning of the Summer Solstice; greeted by the magnificent chorus of the early birds, and the welcome of a blossoming sunrise. I jumped lithely out of bed- my young farmer body ready and willing to meet the challenges of the morning kitchen, afternoon farm, and evening Ultimate Frisbee League. It was, after all, the longest and liveliest day of the year. Maybe Oren and Polly will have ice cream and berries on the porch after the games. I thought to myself as I made my way towards the bathroom.

Hours later, I met the muggy mid-afternoon at Fieldnotes: old glass jug of water in tow. I found Oren, Polly, Monica and Logan roaming around in various states of various projects. “Alright,” ordered the Grandmaster, “Let’s do this.” The “this,” it turned out, was repairing and bolstering some outdoor pea trellising that had gone rogue as the bushy monsters had climbed and strained our flimsy posts. As we gathered heavy steel t-posts and twine, the toll of the long day was evident in the actions and demeanors of my comrades – Oren/Polly debates were longer and sharper than usual (“Move your feet faster, Polly; I need to get going to get that wagon!” “Yeah, yeah…”); Logan Brice’s terse silence as he transported t-posts, and Monica’s blank and distant stare as she held up the peas.


We found our grooves, however, and began joking and gossiping as we relished in a task more collective and stationary than physical: awkwardly stumbling over each other in the skinny rows between the bushy peas, and idly holding things in place while others roped and tied. A couple of hours passed, and by the time Oren could have actually left, he instead leaned casually on a t-post. “Ahh, I’ve got a few minutes left…” He eventually headed out, and we moved on to trellising hoop house tomatoes. Though the sun wouldn’t betray it, we were heading into evening, and I had to pack up and head into town for the 2 ½ hours of ceaseless motion, known as Ultimate Frisbee.

After the games, I set out slowly and sorely across the fields to track down the two tannest faces in the league. It wasn’t that hard: Oren, with his long, lanky limbs and characteristic cap; and Polly, with her Ninja Warrior walk and cutoff Rocky-style sweatshirt—by far the tallest short person I’ve ever met. “Yo, we havin’ ice cream?”

“Yeah, but we gotta load up a bunch of stuff from the greenhouse first.”

We walked out towards our respective vehicles. Me- an unassuming and typical red Corolla. Them – the one and only Shadow: monstrous and conspicuously parked on the side of the crowded street —  equal parts gangster and Mennonite; a fully-powered workhorse encapsulated in one gloriously windowless black van. I reflected on her glory as I followed them to the greenhouse.

IMG_0486 (1).jpg

By this point it was nearing 8:30, and the sun’s reluctant forfeiture of the sky was  finally becoming evident. We stepped into the gray and desolate greenhouse to gather the last of our supplies. No more green giants waiting on the vast expanse of homemade tables; no more watering hoses and folders; no more Sue Anderson and random camera guy. Just a few empty buckets, a stack of tables and a smattering of old trays. We emptied the greenhouse, filled the Shadow, and made our way to the porch, where Logan Brice, Fanni and the long-anticipated ice cream and berries awaited us.

Finally, finally the day gave way to night as we lounged and rested and laughed. As night fell in, I felt a gentle sadness at the inevitably slippery slope towards chilly fall nights and dark winter afternoons. I sighed, through my bittersweet contentment, in the shadow of the Solstice. What a glorious day it was.

The next morning, my idiotic alarm-tone wrestled me from the depths of a healing slumber. I dragged my old-man body gingerly from the bed and shuffled towards the bathroom. June 22, here I come.