Reflections on a Midsummer’s Day

Reflections on a Midsummer’s Day

The sunrise on this day at my house (60 mile north of New Orleans) was at 5:57 AM. Since I live in a grove of mature oaks, hollies, sycamores, pines, magnolias, etc. I wasn’t in much of a hurry to get out of bed. So I got up a bit after 6, poured a cup of coffee, and stepped outside to see what was going on. I wanted to build a monument to mark the Midsummer sunrise, but we have very few stores lying about in south Louisiana. Since I am surrounded by trees anyway, I chose to use the obvious. At 6 AM, all I could see was a bright spot behind the grove (on the eastern end of the property), so I went back to bed until 6:30. Arising to finally see the sun climbing through the grove, I was able to fix a position behind a particular tree from a particular point next to my patio. Mission Accomplished!

So you may be thinking by now, OK – you have no life, what’s your point? None really, just fixing a point in my mind as to my position on the planet. As to midsummer, well that’s another story.

First you have to understand, summer in south Louisiana is not a pleasant thing. It is a time of year when, for all intents and purposes. the weather team at the local TV stations can take time off, because (except when there’s a hurricane messing about in the Gulf) it’s always “gonna be hot and it might rain” ! Add to that, I have always had a relatively large lawn to mow, another inevitable almost daily “sweat out”. Of course, I do not have to plan an exercise routine this season, it’s built in.

Despite of all of this, Midsummer is a time of celebration. Especially so in an agricultural or – more properly – a horticultural context. A time to mark the turning of the season, when gardens are in full flush, veggies coming into the kitchen from the your own yard, and tomorrow, the days begin to “shorten”. (and we can start hoping for that first October cold front! HaHa) Midsummer is also marked by bonfires (were all those ancient Celts and Germans firebugs?). The good ole Church – always co-opting those pagan celebrations – marked the day with the Feast of St. John the Baptist. Traditionally, the cousin of Jesus and six months older, his birthday/feast-day just happens to fall at Midsummer. Ah, well, let’s keep everybody happy.

So whether you celebrate Litha (pagan) or St. John’s Day (Christian and Voodoo) or Midsummer’s Day (British/American), have a good one and remember where all those fruits and veggies come from.

Have a Blessed (sort of) Holiday !

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About Jerry Laiche

Jon (Jerry) Laiche, B.A., M.A. is a  working historian, writer, and co-author of “The Petticoat Rebellion; A Culinary History of French Louisiana”.  He is a twenty-year veteran teacher and scholar, having taught courses in Louisiana, American, and World History. An unabashed bibliophile, for three years, he owned and operated “The Philosopher’s Stone” a bookstore on the New Orleans’ Northshore specializing in rare and antiquarian volumes.  He and his life partner, Elizabeth, currently live at Beltane Grove, one acre and a cottage, 30 miles north of New Orleans’ Lake Pontchartrain. (Rev. April Fool’s Day, 2020) jlaiche@earthlink.net https://jerryandbeth.com (alt.) nola1718@icloud.com Home Office: (985) 795-2372 Primum est Edare, diendi Philosophari