PHOTO ESSAY: GANG Summer Solstice Gathering 2015, and more!

Same day, WOW! Check for the tiny green faery, sitting on a leaf in the final photo, Solstice Bubble. . . Thanks to Laura Bruno who knows how to see!

Well, well! I didn’t post over the weekend because there was WAY too much going on here — not just in the GANG garden and around our pod homes, but in our local Bloomington community. Saturday morning I attended the 25-year-old Center for Sustainable Living‘s meeting and potluck, with it’s new president, the permaculture educator Rhonda Baird, and new subtitle “A Regional Permaculture Institute.” The marriage between permaculture and this venerable old umbrella organization was a natural, and enthusiastically supported by the perhaps three dozen activist folks in the room, including the two founders of the organization, both venerable crones, Christine Glazer and Lucille Bertuccio, who sat directly in front of me with their gray heads occasionally leaning in and whispering. Lots of smiles and laughter as we listened to Rhonda tell the story of how she happened to end up as President of the newly reconstituted Board.

Unfortunately, I missed CSL’s afternoon’s events, because I had to clean up around here for the event we had scheduled for Sunday morning, our third annual Summer Solstice Celebration, Ceremony and Breakfast Potluck in the GANG garden. I was concerned about rain, and had put out signs announcing the event with protective transparent covers, saying to go next door to my house in case of rain, and of course, the garden itself was still terrifically soggy due to all the downpours in the past few days, and so I just knew we would end up in the house. Which meant I had to clean it! Fortunately, Brie had already cleaned the kitchen, and Katarina was cleaning the bathroom, but neither of them were able to be at the event itself — one out of town and the other at work. Bummer!

However, both Brie and Katarina contributed essential pieces to what turned into a wonderful morning. Brie set up a scavenger hunt for the kids, with these instructions.

scavenger hunt instructions

I know it’s hard to read. Sorry, but I’m a crone too, with a tremor in my right hand that takes the photos.

And Katarina contributed the winner’s prize. More on that later.

I had to get the house cleaned quick, because I was due to attend another local event that evening with son Colin (on left) and friends, Taste of Bloomington, complete with food, hard cider (for me, rather than wine or beer) and lots of music.

our group T of B

BTW: I also missed the annual Arts in the Park Saturday afternoon . . . But I did make the workshop on Bloomington’s New Time Bank the next day, a part of next day’s community wide Open Streets event, in the afternoon after our Green Acres Solstice event. (Signed up immediately, as soon as I returned home.)

Needless to say, Saturday’ evening’s Taste of Bloomington left me a bit drunk (18 oz of cider altogether), and certainly exhausted, but I did manage to get some sleep before rising, at dawn to finish prep for the Sunday Solstice gathering at 8 a.m. But at 7:00 am, a knock on the door. Oops! Gail was here, she thought it was at 7 am, like last year . . . So we hung out in the kitchen for an hour, then joined and spilling over into other rooms, by about 15 people total, some of whom could only stop by on their way to work.

kitchen sceneI had hoped for a half dozen little kids, and was predictably disappointed when only three came! Life, as usual is a series of expectations and realities. Oh well! It’s the usual lesson, for me: “Be at ease with whatever is arising,”

We decided to eat first, then go into the soggy garden for scavenger hunt, and then do ceremony.

Okay, here goes! The three kids, Caden, Juakim, and Asiri, standing by the GANG pond with croaking frogs, study their instructions.

scavenge begins

Can you find?

A strawberry plant

A rake


An orange flower

Potato plant

Tulip Tree (our state tree!)

Water collection system

Compost pile

Seed trays


Pepper plant

Lily pad

We decided to accompany the kids on their journey through the permaculture garden.

calendula!WOW! But that’s calendula, yellow, not orange . . .

Rhonda and kids

Rhonda (yes, the same Rhonda who is now President of CSL, and Caden’s mom) helps them identify a pepper plant, though this one’s leaves are not as spiky as those shone on the instruction page. Mariella, nearby, points out, “They vary.”

Mariella (mother of Asiri and Juakim) helps them, too.

Mariella and kids Little Juakim was having trouble staying focused. Wandered away. But wait, “Mom! Wheelbarrow!” (also on the list). See Juakim? In the background with puppy Shadow at his feet . . . The others were so busy checking off the box for “straw” that they didn’t notice.

Mariella and kids.2Finally, only one item remained, “tulip tree.” I suggested the kids go in the front yard, where, Asiri, recognizing the leaf shape from the picture on the instruction page, immediately identified it.

imgresBut geez, they were so close that we decided to call it a tie.

it's a tie!I brought out Katarina’s prize. Bubbles!

We spent the next 30 minutes watching the kids blow bubbles and laughing and wowing at the great bubbles.

Alfio, Juakim’s Dad, helped his son participate.

Alfio and kids


hanging out with the kidsWe talked about making our own bubbles (glycerin, dishwash soap) when that runs out, and I told the kids that we’d keep the bubble stuff in a special corner on the porch for when they come over. Standing there while the kids blew bubbles went on so long that I made a decision: instead of a formal Solstice Ceremony, we’d just blow bubbles. Seems fitting, for the first day of summer, when life is in the full and Earth pumps us full with her joy and abundance.

Oops! What’s this? Corbin (Caden’s dad), points:

bubble Corbin points

See it? It’s a bubble! Just hanging there!

Closer. . .

close up bubbleMinutes later . . . still there! Gail stoops down . . .

Gail, even closerCurious, I asked her afterwards to send me that close-up photo.

unnamedThanks Jelene, for pointing to that one long-lived bubble as itself our Solstice Ceremony: perfect metaphor for the tremulous, ephemeral moment when Sun hangs in the balance as it tips from North to South and slips Earth’s northern hemisphere, slowly, oh so slowly, back into winter’s dark.

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3 Responses to PHOTO ESSAY: GANG Summer Solstice Gathering 2015, and more!

  1. CindyW says:

    Gorgeous photo! up here, I spent Saturday evening watching a group of very talented Lafayette high school students do a production of “The Tempest” on the lawn of a restored local mansion (owned/restored by a couple who collect Indiana artists). Could not help but be privately amused at the Ariel/Iris/Juno/Ceres characters – a little sign from the Solstice world!

  2. laurabruno says:

    There’s a faery in that bubble! Do you see it? Sounds like a wonderful celebration. Ours up north went well, too, with locals and out of town students. Colin’s Garden Tower Project will also get mention on the Edible Michiana Garden Tour on August 29. The editor came to look at our yard today and said she will mention the GT and unusual fruit trees and experiments in the tour write up — always trying to show people what’s possible, even if they live in a postage stamp sized world. … Speaking of which … that faery! Just gorgeous. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. laurabruno says:

    Reblogged this on Laura Bruno's Blog and commented:
    There’s a faery in that bubble! Do you see her? Way cool write-up and photos from Ann K.

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