Given that it’s Midsummer’s Afternoon, I am not going to take up very much of your time with talk. This isn’t the time for talk – or for reading and writing, really. This is the time to stand beneath the standing sun, feel the fire, and prepare yourself to carry that fire onward into the days, weeks, and months to come.
Of course, you’re probably at work right now, sitting (maybe standing) at your desk, counting the hours until you may continue this weekend of freedom and light. For the time being, however, you probably aren’t really feeling up for much in the way of deep contemplation, and you may not much care to take a lot of time in consideration of a sun that you are being prevented from directly experiencing. You might be too tired – from staying up late last night gathering herbs by the healing streams or getting up early to see the sunrise and gather more herbs, or maybe just in order to make it into work on time – to steady yourself in preparation to ward off the demons of darkness and for the work to come.
That’s okay. It’s easy to forget to remember that this is a time to rest, too. In fact, whatever you are doing right now, including reading this, stop for a minute. Stop and be still. Feel your mind at rest. That’s when you realize you’re actually on top of everything – just like the sun out there. The sun has reached the top, it has stopped, and it is still.
But before I go off to complete this crazy day and engage in all the magical insanity INHERENT to Midsummer’s Eve/Day/Night/Weekend, I just want to call your attention to something interesting I saw this week. You may have seen it as well. Surely, if you pay any attention at all to world affairs, you’ve seen at least some mention of the popular protests which have erupted over the last two weeks across Turkey. The government in Ankara has taken a hard line against the protesters, and their tolerance has ebbed to an all-time low at this point. They have largely cleared the squares, such as Taksim, where the protests have been centered, provoking many creative and beautiful reactions – mass singing, mass dancing, mass smiling, mass gatherings of mothers in solidarity for their children.
But after they cleared out the square for real, one guy did something a little different. A guy named Erdem Gunduz walked over to the middle of the now-empty Taksim Square and stood there, simply, silently, and casually, staring at a giant picture of the founder of modern, secular Turkey. Not only did he just stand there, he stood there for eight hours.
And then people started joining him.
And then thousands began doing it with him. All across the country.
No marching, no chanting, no slogans, no signs, no demands, no confrontation (yet) with the cops.
Just people. Just standing there.
Standing there being people.
Let’s think about this now – thousands of people across an entire country joining one another in public…just to stand. Just to be.
“Here I am,” they say.
“Here we are.”
Maybe I’m just a sap, but there are moments in which I wonder if this might be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever come across. People are describing this as a brand new form of protest, but there are moments in which I wonder if the word “protest” can possibly adequately describe what is going on here, the power and the meaning and the quiet but unstoppable force behind it.
Then there are other moments in which I’m not sure there could possibly be any act more thoroughly and effectively defiant than this. Just being quiet. Just standing there. Just being together. Just being people. It brings tears to my eyes when I think about it too hard because it’s just so simple and yet it’s just so perfect.
And we can do it, too. We are compelled to do it, too. We are all Duran Adam, the Standing Man. If only we realize it and get up on our feet. That’s true today, and that’s true every day.
Here we are.
Here I am.
May God be with you and Happy Solstice. Stand up. Sing. Dance. Lock arms and feel joy.