Summer Solstice

Soul Food Totem

The Australian Raven, Corvus coronoides, is 52 cm. The feathers on the throat (hackles) are longer than in other species, and a bird tends to extend these when calling, while holding its head and body in a horizontal position. The territorial call is a slow, rather high "ah-ah-ah-aaaah" with the last note drawn out. Australian Ravens are usually seen in pairs. Another aid to identification of this species is the absence of wing-flicking while calling.

This Summer Solstice the Raven brings messages from Soul Food that speak of withdrawal, self nourishment and nesting.

Laughing Kookaburra

Image from: John Gould (1804-81) The birds of Australia 1840-48. 7 vols. 600 plates Artists: J. Gould and E. Gould; Lithographer: E. Gould.

The somewhat maniacal-sounding song of the Kookaburra is o ne of the most familiar and well-loved sounds of the Australian bush. To the ears of the early European settlers however, its call sounded strange and sinister; the explorer Charles Sturt called it 'a chorus of wild spirits.' The raucous, laughing song is actaully the Kookaburra's territorial proclamation, heard mostly at dawn and dusk. When one bird begins to sing, others in the neighbourhood join in, creating at times a deafening cacophony.

Bellbirds by Henry Kendell

Winter Solstice

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Solstice - A Seasonal Merry-Go-Round

The irony of the seasonal merry-go-round is that, as we Australians celebrate the longest day and Summer Solstice, our friends in the Northern Hemisphere are preparing for the shortest day and the Winter Solstice. 'Curiouser and curiouser' as Alice would say.

Wherever you are prepare to mark the solstice with some rituals.

Think of me, metaphorically sitting by junction of the King Parrot and Stony Creeks at Flowerdale, the place where Darryl and I have agreed to scatter our ashes, the appointed place where we can be reunited to sit, with our toes cooling in the crystal waters, listening to the 'quiet everywhere.'

A Midsummer Noon in the Australian Forest

Not a bird disturbs the air!
There is quiet everywhere;
Over plains and over woods
What a mighty stillness broods.

Even the grasshoppers keep
Where the coolest shadows sleep;
Even the busy ants are found
Resting in their pebbled mound;
Even the locust clingeth now
In silence to the barky bough:
And over hills and over plains
Quiet, vast and slumbrous, reigns.

Only there's a drowsy humming
From yon warm lagoon slow coming:
'Tis the dragon-hornet - see!
All bedaubed resplendently
With yellow on a tawny ground -
Each rich spot nor square nor round,
But rudely heart-shaped, as it were
The blurred and hasty impress there,
Of vermeil-crusted seal
Dusted o'er with golden meal:
Only there's a droning where
Yon bright beetle gleams the air -
Gleams it in its droning flight
[Tracks it in its gleaming flight]
With a slanting track of light,
Till rising in the sunshine higher,
Its shards flame out like gems on fire.

Every other thing is still,
Save the ever wakeful rill,
Whose cool murmur only throws
A cooler comfort round Repose;
Or some ripple in the sea
Of leafy boughs, where, lazily,
Tired Summer, in her forest bower
Turning with the noontide hour,
Heaves a slumbrous breath, ere she
Once more slumbers peacefully.

0 'tis easeful here to lie
Hidden from Noon's scorching eye,
In this grassy cool recess
Musing thus of Quietness.

by Henry Kendell

Summer Midnight

Athwart the star-lit midnight sky
Luminous fleecy clouds drift by,
As the mysterious, pallid moon
Sinks in the waveless still lagoon.
Now that the queen of night is dead,
The starry commonwealth o'erhead
Sheds lustrous light from the Milky Way;
While the Dog-star gleams,
and the Sisters Seven,
Float tremulously in the misty heaven.
Faintly, afar the horse-bells ring;
Myriads of wakened crickets sing;
And the spirit voices of the night
Sing snatches of fairy music bright,
Old-world melodies - lang syne sung -
Recalling days when the heart was young,
Whose wonderful cadences fall and rise,
As the wind in the casuarina sighs;
And the world seems 'gulfed, this summer night,
In a flood of delicious, dreamy light.

by Breaker Morant.

Associated Link

Flip to view the Winter Solstice