The Solstice and the Creature

The amazement of sunlight at the solstice


 Hello, dear reader!  Did you notice I skipped a day?  

 And then had to take my own advice from the last blog.  Because the Mind started to whine (oh haven’t we heard this before??)  “There’s nothing to say, nothing to write about!”  But since I don’t believe this particular slice of mind (Yes, I still believe other slices of mind) this blog is born despite all odds.  

 We shall write about The Solstice and the Creature.    

Let there be shadow and light on this longest day


 The Solstice, as many of you know, is the Longest Day of the Year.  The longest day of sunlight shining uponst us all.  OK, some of us suffer with clouds or rain or tornados or monsoons.  But behind all those events, the sun still insists it’s the boss on June 21st.   

 We heat-starved northern folk are basking these days.  We’re letting the heat seep into our frozen bones.  We’re thawing out.  We’re letting the memories of six-foot snow drifts subside…  We’re trying to let the memories of six-foot snow drifts subside…   

Ring around the Solstice rising sun!


 This morning I was at work at the school.  Working.  Honest.  Except, on a sashay through the library (it couldn’t have been more than three minutes, honest), I noticed shadows and light!  Had to go root in my purse for the camera.  Don’t you love the way the shadows and light play on that game?  I do.    

Yep, let the reading fun begin!


 While I had the camera in the library, it was now paramount to take a picture of the sun shining through a ring in the curtain holder.  The sun, for an instant, was captured!  Yes!   

 And down below lay a flyer which insisted, “Let the reading adventures begin!”  I snapped its photo, as well.  

 Although–in my life–the reading adventures never end.   

 The latest reading adventure has my heart going pitter-patter and the fingers dialing the L’Anse Library trying to get the second book in the trilogy.  It’s called “The Fields”.  

 The first book, which I devoured like manna, was called “The Trees.”  Oh.  Yes.   It is by Conrad Richter and it’s situated at the end of the eighteenth century in the land west of the Alleghenies and north of the Ohio River.   

 The author talks in old-time lingo, and by gosh, by golly, by the end of the book you’re going around saying things like “I tole you!” and “It put me in mind of the playparty rations…” even though you have no idea what “playparty rations” might be.  

 Gosh, how I loved this book!  It came to me via my stop at Dog Ears Books in Northport nary on a week ago.  (Tee hee, you see how this old-time language takes over after a good read.)   

 I was askin’ Pamela to recommend a good book when an artist-sort with blond hair began to wax poetically about The Trees.  She said almost every one in their book club liked it.  If almost everyone in a book club likes a book, it’s a miracle.  (Our book club can never get a quorum on a book we like.  Well, hardly ever.)  

For all you adventuresome readers.


 One of the fascinating parts about this book are the trees themselves.  They hang thick and dark and heavy and lonely, swamping the early settlers in their unbroken forest world.  The curtain of heavy trees may have even killed one of the characters…but we won’t go there.  Oh how I understand!   

 Last year, when I wrote the 365 day outdoor blog, I wrote one blog which articulated some of the challenges of living amidst a forest of trees.  It was called Horizon Envy and it was one of my favorite blogs from last year.  My sociologist son even suggested a possible sociological study of this phenomenon.    

But watch out when you start reading. You never know who will decide to join you.


 Anyway, I am panting to get the next book.  The library lady said she would check and see if it’s possible to order interlibrary loan books during the summertime.  (Apparently the libraries aren’t happily passing around books when the schools close due to high postage costs.  Sigh.)  Might have to gander toward another bookstore!  

 As for the Creature–you were waiting to hear about the creature, weren’t you?  Did you see It lingering on my skirt in the above photo?  It decided It wanted to roost on the reader earlier today.  Any one know the name of this long antennaed creature?  

And while we’re talking books, any of you enjoying your reads these a days?  (Oh goodness.  We have to get back to talkin’ normal soon.  We hafta.) 

Enjoy the Solstice, Everyone!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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33 Responses to The Solstice and the Creature

  1. Karma says:

    Working in the school, eh? Me too! Tomorrow is our last day! Yahoo!

    Would you like to know something kinda weird I discovered yesterday? Looking at “official-type” information, there is actually almost a week of “the longest day.” I looked it up on NASA’s site, I believe it was, where they give the official amount of daylight (15 hours and I forget how many minutes) and it was actually the same from about last Friday through this Wednesday – at least for this part of MA.

    I can’t believe you were calm enough to grab the photo of “the creature” on your leg!

    • Kathy says:

      Really? Here we are all talking about the longest day, and it’s really the longest week of longest days? That is something I didn’t know! But that makes sense.

      So you work in a school, too, Karma? Our school got out a couple weeks ago, but since I’m the Business Manager type person, I have to work all summer on and off.

      As for calmness re the Creature–those particular creatures seem to be very gentle even though they look like they dropped in from outer space.

      • Karma says:

        I’m actually teacher’s aide or “paraprofessional”, waiting for my chance to be hired as teacher – good luck with that in this economy, eh?

        • Kathy says:

          Karma, I am looking in my crystal ball and see a wonderful teacher’s job awaiting you in the future. The crystal ball doesn’t tell when, but a wizard is nodding and giving you the thumb’s up. 🙂

  2. Robin says:

    Happy Solstice!

    I read The Trees (and the other two books in the trilogy) a few years ago, not long after we moved to northeast Ohio. A woman I worked with brought them in for me and I devoured them. Not literally, of course. (Is that a play on a play on words??) I enjoyed the descriptions of an Ohio that was heavily forested. I hope you can find the other two books. (Keeping my fingers crossed for you.)

    I have no idea what that creature might be, but it sure is interesting.

    And since you asked, I am indeed enjoying my reads these days. I’m currently reading The Graveyard Book which starts out dark but is a delight to read. It’s really meant for ages 9-12 but I had heard so many good things about the book that I wanted to read it for myself. (I’m also a fan of Neil Gaiman.) I’m going to save it for my granddaughters (along with other good reads for children such as The Secret Garden and The Phantom Tollbooth).

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, I am glad that you have “devoured” the books, too! I think all of we avid readers devour good books. They’re like sustenance. I should look in the school library to see if the Graveyard Book is there. And you have granddaughters? How cool!

  3. Sue says:

    Well, Dear Kathy, that there creature looks to be a Long-horned Wood-boring beetle (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Best known for chompin’ down the subject of your novel…..TREES. Especially conifers.
    Maybe you’ll get to see the horizon someday soon! 😉

    Here’s a link to to another picture:

    • Kathy says:

      Sue! Sue! Jumping up and down! YOu found it! Isn’t it interesting that this particular creature decided to join in the blog fun? When it likes to chomp down trees! Barry kept looking for through the insect book last night…you could hear him muttering…”It has to be a beetle. It has to be a beetle” but he couldn’t find a picture. So THANK YOU!

      • Sue says:

        We have some of those in Canada….so I knew what it looked like, and what it does, but I didn’t know it’s official name.

        You can hear them at work if it’s a quiet night and you’re near where they are working. It almost sounds like someone grinding their teeth at night.
        They love to get into your wood pile and work away at that too.

        Here’s hoping that they don’t take down the forest!! 🙂

        • Kathy says:

          Grinding their teeth at night, you say? OK, its settled. You have to come up and spend the night with us. Then you can identify the sound. Please? 🙂

        • Sue says:

          Oh! I would love that!! And how did you know that I was thinking that very thought today??? It seems to me that I am VERY long overdue for a trip. I’m going to start looking at my calendar and making a plan…’ll be hearing from me soon! 🙂

        • Kathy says:

          Sounding good, Sue! (Although July might be a tad bit crazy at both ends due to the kids’ visit.) Looking forward to our next rock-hunting expedition!

  4. holessence says:

    Kathy – I love blogs about books. I’ve just added “The Trees,” “The Fields,” and “The Town” in the Awakening the Land trilogy to my “must read” list because you said you’re enjoying it — a lot. I love it when people share high praise about books they’re reading — thank you.

    I’m currently reading, “The Genie in Your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention” by Dawson Church — it’s excellent!

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, I am so glad to know that The Town is the third book in the series. Thank you for sharing that! As for the current book you’re reading…oh my…that is an epigenetic mouthful! (Although I have no clue what “epigenetic” might mean. Perhaps something to do with energy medicine?

  5. Dawn says:

    Yes I noticed you missed a day, and I was PROUD of you for doing that…remembering that you were concerned about being responsible for writing every day…so I’m glad you took a day off! 🙂

    The book sounds interesting. I’ll add it to my “to read” list!

    I have no idea what that bug is, but I’m glad I’ve never seen it in person!!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, Dawn, it was soooo challenging to HAVE to write every day last year! By the end I was half nuts… (not to say that I’m not always half nuts!) This year I write and write because I love it. And whenever the itch strikes to do something else rather than write a blog…it’s done. Strange that it doesn’t happen more often!

  6. barb says:

    I like your rambles – both the photo and word kinds. I have no idea about the bug – it looks to be from outer space. I read on a Kindle and have 5-6 books going at once. It’s my dream come true.

  7. Susan D says:

    That’s a cool bug but I guess an evil one if he eats trees? (Funny how snakes scare me but bugs don’t bug me). Love the contrast of the bug and the delicate pretty skirt.

    Laughed out loud about reverting to old-timey language after reading a good book using such. It’s fun! Not too long ago finished reading some Olde English poetry, and everything became “forsooth” and “milady” and “thrice.”

    How I miss the library at Arvon! It is my fave room there – somehow the lighting in there is always interesting – whether rain or shine. Thanks for noticing its nuances today and getting great photos!

    Currently re-reading “Light in August” by Wm. Faulkner .. sometimes like to go back and revisit the classics.

    (Yes, we will walk again soon. Dignified if chancing upon snakes, and embracing bugs should they light upon us)…

    • Kathy says:

      Evil…hmmm…that’s a mighty strong word to label that there Long-horned Wood-boring beetle, Ms. Susan! Next thing we’d have to call those darn woodpeckers evil and… I know you don’t mean it one iota. As for snakes…

      anywho, I can’t remember reading Light in August. Does Mr. Faulkner talk in the jocular? Hey, and you’ll have to come out to the Arvon School reunion July 11th! You and Sonya! How ’bout it? (Or else you guys can stop any time when I’m working and tour the old building and sit in the library and maybe have a cup of tea or coffee. Not til the painters are done though.) And give me a call when walking strikes yer fancy!

  8. Kiah says:

    Are you sure you weren’t in Dr. Stacknik’s office for the first few photos?

  9. Yesss I was wondering about the bug!
    It looked like your shoulder, but it was your skirt!

    I find bugs very minteresting, as a scientist, however they still give me the creeps when they show up ,to scare me…..I am a wimp, however an adventurer as well!


    • Kathy says:

      Kim, it was very odd that I was wearing a skirt yesterday. Don’t usually wear skirts too much up here in the woods. So you’re scared of bugs? For some strange reason they don’t bug me too much…LOL!

  10. P.j. grath says:

    Kathy, I am SO THRILLED to have you join the growing legions I have introduced to this wonderful trilogy! For me the third book, THE TOWN, was sad, because (a) the trees and fields were gone, (b) Saird was living in the town, and (c) her children didn’t seem to love her nearly as much as I did, or at least understand her as a reader comes to by reading these books. It’s true that the Leelanau Township Library book discussion group devoured the three books. I wrote about that here:
    Of all the things I’ve been able to do in Northport, this has been one of the most meaningful. Thank you for spreading the word!

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, I’m already starting to feel a little sad about reading that third book. Saird’s character is interesting, isn’t it? She says so little. You could perhaps intuit that it would take a certain kind of person to understand her…since so much goes on inside her strong, silent self. I am thinking about how she simply sharpened two axes and put them in her cabin without saying a word to her husband. He had to know what she intended–to make a clearing in the woods to grow some plants–without her asking him to help. That scene sticks with me…

      I am so glad you have spread the words about this trilogy! Wish you lived closer–I would buy The Fields from you in a second. (If the library doesn’t deliver it this week, that is.)

  11. Kathy –

    Many times a person has heard “it’s in your blood” so many times (something “bad” runs in the family (i.e., diabetes, cancer, arthritis) that they manifest (bring it about; cause it to occur) simply through their thoughts. This doesn’t have to be so.

    In biology, and specifically genetics, epigenetics is the study of inherited changes in phenotype (appearance) or gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence, hence the name epi- (Greek: επί- over, above) -genetics. These changes may remain through cell divisions for the remainder of the cell’s life and may also last for multiple generations. However, there is no change in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism;[1] instead, non-genetic factors cause the organism’s genes to behave (or “express themselves”) differently.

    Or in the case of geology, changes in the mineral composition of a rock (stones, crystals, minerals) because of outside influences, e.g. the injection of a vein of ore into existing rock.

    • Kathy says:

      So interesting, Laurie! I heard a story recently about a man whose father died at 54. He was obsessed by his father’s death. At age 54, just like his father, he died. Coincidence? Or maybe epigenetics?

  12. Colleen Lloyd says:

    Kathy, Happy Solstice to you! I’ve always loved this particular moment of the year. This year it was quite unusual….experiencing the longest day of the year and the shortest day of the year almost back to back.
    Your first two photos really touched my heart and brought back memories. Our grandaughter came into the world way too early and there was a toy exactly like this in the waiting room. Spent many an hour in that room! She’s now a full-spirited, independent-minded, almost-five-year-old who can charm the polka dots off your socks.
    I am so interested in your thoughts about horizon envy (such a great blog!) and understand it very well!! Can relate to your friend Melinda’s feelings even though I do love trees and well-lit forests 🙂

    • Colleen Lloyd says:

      Am just starting a book called The Trail of Crumbs ….a memoir by Kim Sunee and rereading The Diamond in your Pocket…Discovering your True Radiance. The Trees is now on my list of books-to-read-soon!

      • Kathy says:

        Hi Colleen, happy to bring back memories! Smiling at the thought of your five year old granddaughter. So happy that she can charm the polka dots off your socks. 🙂 Thank you for reading the Horizon Envy blog. I appreciate that! And let me know if you like either of those books especially. Always on the look out for a good book!

  13. Robin says:

    Just finished reading your Horizon Envy post on your other blog (I didn’t have time last night). I can see why it is a favorite. It is beautifully written, heartfelt blogging. 🙂

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