Every six months are marked with a solstice — a turning point marking a seasonal shift and (of course) an opportunity to celebrate. We host candle-lit dinner parties, shake bottles of champagne or even ride through the streets naked to show our excitement. Despite the celebration however, the solstices — both winter and summer — are bittersweet. While we dance in an abundance of daylight in the summer, we suddenly move towards darker days. In the winter, we look forward to the sunshine to come, but hold our celebrations in the shadows of the shortest and darkest day of the year. The solstice marks change, and change comes with a trade-off. We wave farewell to the old before greeting the new.
I spent this year’s summer solstice contemplating this exchange. This year, the solstice not only marked a change for the seasons, but a significant one for my life. I’d climbed into Hunter’s (patiently waiting) car on Friday after walking out of TEAGUE for the very last time. We’d escaped to the Olympic Peninsula, camped along a crystal clear lake, sipped ice-cold beers in a canoe and hiked a few miles through the mud along the coast before we collided with the Pacific Ocean. Watching the sun sink into salt water always reminds me of my inconsequence while simultaneously stuffing me with excitement for shaping my place in the imminence of tomorrow. On this solstice, I felt this dichotomy more than ever.
I thought back on the past few years, overwhelmed with gratitude. Thankful for my time at TEAGUE — for the people I’d met and the lessons learned. Blessed to have a guy by my side who supported me through the ups and downs while I’d learned to stand on my own two feet. It wasn’t simply a day of reflection though — no solstice is. It was one marked with change. From 10pm sunsets to 4pm ones, and for me, from what’s familiar in Seattle to what is undiscovered in NYC.
The days might be getting darker now, but that’s not a metaphor for despair. For me, the darker days are just the uncharted ones. The next few years will be an adventure through both darkness and light. Each day, like each solstice will be bittersweet, and all of them will deserve celebration.