Friday, June 04, 2010
The pagan solstice and other impending events
The other day I was woken up by the bright pre-dawn light and the chorus of song birds in the cemetery (what did my dad say about having quiet neighbours?). This was mainly my fault because I'd forgotten to close our bedroom door (a habit from Nikolai's babyhood) and it's impossible to close enough blinds to block out the light in our hallway. The only trick in this story is that it was 4 am, and everything going on outside of my bedroom was telling me that it was time to wake up and start foraging for food. The solstice is fast approaching, with our current sunrise at 5:01 am and the sunset at at 21:48 pm. We are pretty far north, about the same latitude as Prince George or Edmonton, so not the Northwest Territories (Brad's claim to fame).
My semi-pagan tribute to the solstice started this week at story time, when I noticed that the usually calm event had descended into a chaotic mass of children tearing about like mad and mothers desperately trying to control them. Even though there hasn't been any evidence of paganism in our Irish life, beyond our trip to Newgrange, I can tell that the summer solstice has an unconscious and considerable pull. Everyone, myself included, has a frantic energy that is nipping at their heels. Emotions are running high, and I know that I am not the only one who is influenced by the solstice dance that is pulsing in the soil and vibrating in the air.
I am in fact glad to be missing the solstice in our departure to Turkey as everyone in our house (though primarily Nikolai) is suffering from a bit of hypomania, and I think we could all use some nice relaxation time at the equator. This brings me to my second topic, as we are once again going to be witness to another historical moment, even though the protests in Istanbul will surely have ebbed off by the time we arrive.
All this thinking about the world has made me realize everyone still has a two year old lurking inside of them, and the politicians and business persons (for my mother) are no different from the rest of us in this regard. Perhaps this is the quintessential mummy-brain, but here's a parable... this is the story of Nikolai and his friend Michael (I am now looking after Michael for one afternoon a week, which does give us a lot of opportunity to learn about negotiation and sharing). My parable involves a ball, and that very common situation where both toddlers have decided they need to have THAT ball (we do have multiple balls around here). They both have their own, very valid, points of view... Nikolai owns the ball, Michael had it first, Nikolai wants to throw the ball, Michael wants to kick it... etc. What I have been trying to teach them is that playing with the ball on your own is all fine and dandy... but as most school age children know, the ball is ever so much better if you have someone to share it with.
The other exciting thing in Europe today (and other footie playing parts of the world), is the Fifa World Cup set to start on June 11th. Well, I'm not a follower of sport... to say the least. As embarrassing as it is for a Canadian to admit this, I'm not even really sure who is in the playoff for the Stanley cup, or perhaps they've already finished. I honestly have no idea. (Maybe that will stir some rousing comments???) But I do so love participating in the excitement around sporting events, and the beer drinking that is generally involved. So I do know the following about the Fifa world cup:
1. It's in South Africa
2. K'naan (loved him since his first album was played as part of the CBC Polaris prize) is singing the theme song of the event "Like a waving flag". The Fifa version is pretty much about football and team sport... the original version is more about how sh*tty it is to grow up in a war zone.
3. Ireland's team didn't get to go because of the French team, and so we're allowed to root for Anyone But France.
4. There's a crisp flavor for every football playing nation.
The photo is from the train to Dublin by Croke Park stadium, taken in January. The graffiti will make sense to anyone who really follows sport.