Summer Magic, by Molly M. Remer

We take a slice of honey cake
and a pottery cup of grape juice
and leave it by the rose bush
as an offering,
arrayed on a bed of petals
and topped with a single daisy
and a ring of wild raspberries.
We make some wishes
in the dusty air,
kneel down
with our palms upon the warm earth

and sing for rain.
We walk under
a half-moon sky
beside a blood-red sun,
the sound of coyotes
rising into the night
as a silent deer watches us,
head a triangle of alertness,
black eyes staring across
the heat-weary field.
We catch fireflies,
winking
above the wildflowers
sparks of yellow-green,
and find a plump brown toad
waiting in the path.
Then, we stand quietly together,
mosquitoes beginning to cluster
around our legs,
our heads tilted back
watching carefully for fairy
silhouettes against the deepening gray
of the midsummer sky. 

It is summer here in the Northern Hemisphere. Deep summer. Dusty summer. Thirsty summer. Humid summer. In central Missouri, it is the type of thick, wet heat that soaks into you and saps your strength and enthusiasm about life. Life can feel faded, dull, and magic hard to see. The woods, where I find such solace, renewal, and enchantment, become closed to me as poison ivy, thorns, ticks and chiggers, resolutely bar my way. So, I walk on the road these days, in the mornings and at sunset, seeing what I can see from my vantage point on a dusty gravel road. Deep summer I find offers an opportunity to look around to see what flourishes of its own accord, to see what grows without tending, to see what rises wild and unfettered from the natural conditions in which they thrive.

Sometimes as humans we become used to controlling as much of the world as we can control and as much of ourselves as we can control. Sometimes we get focused on what we can cultivate and grow and intentionally tend. So focused on this conscious tending may we be, that we may even rip up or destroy or change what is naturally growing in our own little ecosystem, our own little biome, what is growing right where we are. We may even pull it up and put something else in its place that we think is prettier, or nicer, or even more beneficial or useful. I encourage us to consider summer as a time in which to pause with, appreciate and look at, savor and explore, learn about and discover, what really grows right where you are, what thrives right where you stand, without the need for you to manipulate or control or change it. And, I invite you to also consider how this might apply to the growing and thriving in your own personal life? How or what are you perhaps trying to manipulate or change or control in yourself or with the people in your life? Perhaps it is time to take a step back, to sit back, and to see what is already growing. What is already there? What is thriving in your world? What is thriving for you that doesn’t require wrestling with or changing or trying to make it fit in a certain way? I encourage you to soften and see. Perhaps the mulberry trees are green and spreading in your world. Perhaps the clover is in bloom. Perhaps there are daisies. Perhaps there are monarch butterflies still bravely persistent on the milkweed in the field. Perhaps there are wild onion scapes, with their little purple heads. Perhaps there is yarrow, white, and waiting, and interwoven in its own curious way with the health of your own blood and body. Perhaps that book you want to write is bubbling right behind your fingertips, waiting for your pen to be set against the page. Perhaps that project that sings your name is waiting for you to pause to see it.

We doubt sometimes our place in the natural world. And, yet these plants that surround us, that spring up around us, that grow right where we are, are here and growing, just like we, ourselves, are growing where we are. These plants are intertwined with the health of our own bodies. That is amazing and enchanting and wondrous to me.

My youngest son, Tanner, is six and we are working together on an earth science class, studying planets and the earth and geology and the universe. He came to me saying: “Mom, did you know, there’s real iron in us! There’s real iron in us.” And I replied, “there’s real iron at the core of the Earth too. Isn’t that amazing? The earth has iron in it and so do we.” He looked at me and asked then, “is magic real?” And I replied, “yes, honey, we walk around inside of it every day.” I pause here in the hot exhaustion of summer to marvel that so it is. In truth, it is not only that we walk around inside of it every day. We walk on top of it every day. We walk with it every day. It beats in our veins every day. We live with it every day. If we carry an awareness of this embodied magic with us, then every day becomes enchantment. Every day becomes sacred space in motion. Every day becomes the opportunity to fully inhabit our own living magic as we literally walk around within it each and every day.

So, what is growing for you? What is blooming for you? What is flourishing and healthy, just of its own accord, asking nothing else from you, but witnessing?

The earth is made
of days
beyond count
and roots beyond question.
The fire in your belly
is that which whirls worlds into being.
There is iron in your blood,
iron at the planet’s core,
iron in the stars,
iron in beak of hawk
and eye of crow,
and iron in the red rocks
beneath your feet.
This air you breathe is
river woven,
lightning laced,
tear salted,
iron eyed,
earth kissed,
raven winged.
Wait,
let this breath expand
your chest
and know:
here you are,
today,
in-dependence
with all things.

Molly Remer, MSW, D.Min, is a priestess, writer, and teacher facilitating ritual, making art, and weaving words together in central Missouri. Molly and her husband Mark co-create Story Goddesses at Brigid’s Grove. Molly is the author of nine books, including Walking with Persephone, Whole and HolyWomanrunes, and the Goddess Devotional. She is the creator of the devotional experience #30DaysofGoddess and she loves savoring small magic and everyday enchantment.



Categories: Earth-based spirituality, Ecofeminism, Goddess Spirituality, Gratitude, Interdependence of Life, interspecies relationality, Mother Earth, Narrative Essay, Poetry, Seasons

11 replies

  1. Beautiful essay, Molly. You ask an excellent, timely question: “What is thriving for you that doesn’t require wrestling with or changing or trying to make it fit in a certain way? I encourage you to soften and see.” So much to consider here!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like the fact that you highlight what grows naturally – there is something about allowing the land to have her way that opens us to beauty on a level we might otherwise miss… Rewilding has become a new catch word for many as some struggle to save the earth by giving back the control to nature…I belong to such an organization (northeastwildernesstrust.com), one that promises that any land acquired will be never logged, that nature will choose what grows and what does not… after living on this land for forty yeas S/he has taught me that this is what I needed to do – long before I could articulate what i was doing – allowing the land to go wild! If we have any chance at all it will require allowing nature to lead…our human obsession with control and manipulation has finally backfired… appreciated the poetry too! Thanks Molly!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. this is such a wonderful gift to all of us readers.
    thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “I encourage us to consider summer as a time in which to pause with, appreciate and look at, savor and explore, learn about and discover, what really grows right where you are, what thrives right where you stand, without the need for you to manipulate or control or change it.” This came at exactly the right time, as I was considering calling a gardener to mow my lawn and neaten the edges around the garden. Now I’ll observe rather than control. I love the rest of your philosophy too. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Wow! I’m not usually a fan of free verse but your poem knocked me into the middle of next week, Molly! In fact, the whole essay is spectacular. Thank you for this gift, which will infuse magic into another hot, humid day in Northern Virginia.

    Blessed bees, butterflies, toads, and magickal happenings!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Lovely! I am reminded of Cape Girardeau, where I went to college, and a little town next to the river where I taught for three years. It’s good to be from Missouri, but I’m glad I don’t live there now and I hope you’re staying safe there from the vaccination refuseniks and healthy to enjoy the beauty you describe. Bright blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a beautiful and profound essay, Molly and I love your poems and photos! I agree that we humans try to control nature too much. Yes, magic is all around us and within us! Many blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. this is a wonderful essay, Molly, and speaks to where I am in my life and in my work with the plants. Thank you.

    Like

  9. I loved your post, Molly. It was so timely for me, because today I was lethargic and wanted to stay laid-back. Our daughter and her 4 year-old and 11 month-old sons were here for 3 weeks. They left two days ago, and I’m still tired. I somehow was able to continue writing while they were here, but now that they are gone, I need some time to recover. So…today I was feeling summer as the “heat that soaks into you and saps your strength and enthusiasm about life.” And in that condition, it feels right “to look around to see what flourishes of its own accord, to see what grows without tending, to see what rises wild and unfettered from the natural conditions in which they thrive.” Instead of pushing myself to write, I decided to gaze at the lake, enjoy the temperate, sunny day we were having and just let everything be.

    So I was shocked when I read, “Perhaps that book you want to write is bubbling right behind your fingertips, waiting for your pen to be set against the page. Perhaps that project that sings your name is waiting for you to pause to see it.” No, no, no! I heard inside my head. No! Not today. Today I will not lift a finger, not use even the slightest energy to bring pen to page. Even growing or blooming seems too much movement to ask for. Instead, I will ask “What is asking nothing else from you, but witnessing?” In other words, your post came back to the question I needed to hear. And the answer: vacation, slow movement, gazing, enjoying, softening and seeing…

    Liked by 1 person

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