Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happy Solstice

The crows and pine siskins were singing louder and happier this early this morning, lifting their beaks in song to celebrate the solstice. It was a wonderful sound and I swear more of them joined the chorus this morning than usual.

In the past I’ve celebrated Litha in some form. Two years ago we were camping with friends and had cake and ale to observe the day.

Ten years ago my husband and I were in Inuvik, NWT, and wound up at a feast at the Native Friendship Centre. What a glorious way to bring in summer.
It’s odd celebrating the longest day in a place so far north the sun does not set. It added a dimension to the observance I may never have again.

We had all kinds of food like caribou, assorted type of freshwater fish, musk ox, and even muktuk (raw whale blubber.)
I wasn’t sure if I wanted any of the muktuk, but it might be my only chance to taste it.
I’m glad I did. If you’re curious, imagine chewing on the sole of a running shoe that’s flavoured with sea water.

Taste aside, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was eating an intelligent creature. I could see it in the ocean. I felt myself within it.

I don’t get that sense eating cow, deer, or steelhead trout. I wonder if it was due to being raw and having such limited contact with humans? Store food goes though many hands and much processing before we buy it and cook it. Any lingering sense of its life is long gone.
The whale was raw and had hardly any human contact from water to table. Its life force hadn’t been drained away.

Today I’ll spend some time in the sun and perhaps have some de-alcoholized beer and a piece of cake to honor the solstice. But I’ll also have in mind that as of now the days become shorter and we’re looking toward the dark.

Happy Solstice.


Crabby McSlacker said...

Well, I'll pass on the whale blubber for solstice celebrations. But thanks for the description--I'll be better prepared if I ever encounter it.

Solstice seems a much more "natural" day for reflection and celebration than all the made-up commercial holidays or the nationalistic/Christian ones.

Happy solstice!

Samantha said...

I do love to try new foods but, I am pretty sure whale blubber will be on my list of foods I won't be eating ever!:)

Dawn said...

Whale blubber! I have a feeling that it is not quite as tasty as crispy bacon fat!

Thanks for reminding me that yesterday (for us) was winter solstice. Today has been fraught with anxiety and it feels so right to connect back to the natural rhythm of life.