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Celebrating the Solstice

June 23, 2011
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About ten years ago, working on the first of my many, many ‘Kivailo world’ stories, I decided that the solstices and equinoxes were high holidays for the Kivailo… and I took up that habit myself. Four times a year, I thoroughly cleaned my room, from wiping down the bookcases to mopping the floor, and then on the solstice/equinox itself, sat down and thought about the season that had passed and the one that was about to start, about the things I was grateful for, the things I could learn from the things that hadn’t gone so well, about the hopes I had for the future…

I’ve let all that slide since I moved. I did try… I did get the windows and floors cleaned, but the bookcases… umm… the less said, the better. I did try to think, but the days of spring have all blurred together, and I can’t remember what has happened except working, working, working, and I couldn’t think ahead except to where I would sleep during my trip to the Netherlands this year…

My Ficus elastica, however, remembered it was time to celebrate.

Ever since I brought it home – I propagated it myself at the Apprenticeship Place – it only ever grew right around the summer solstice. All year, it just stood there doing nothing, and then, when my north-west-facing window got a few minutes of sunlight for a couple of weeks before and after the summer solstice, it’d suddenly start putting out leaves and put on twenty centimetres of height… and then stop for another year.

When I moved, and put the Ficus into the living room window (which faces south, but is protected from the worst of the summer sun by the balcony on the next floor), I had hopes that it would now grow year-round. It did grow one leaf, and I got all excited – and then it stopped. And stood there and did nothing.

Until a few days ago, when I looked up at it and spotted a new leaf. And looking closer:

Two new leaves, and a third one on the way!

Of course, this mightn’t really be caused by the solstice – I finally did feed all my plants on the seventh. Still, two leaves in two weeks are quite good, and the timing’s neat too.

Here’s hoping the rest of summer will be just as great!

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