One of the ways we assert ourselves as creatures of the natural world is to celebrate equinoxes and solstices.
As part of these seasonal celebrations, a few years ago Chad and I started a tradition of hiking to the same spot in the desert on these occasions.
We nicknamed our spot, “Solstice Point.”
Every solstice and equinox, or thereabouts, we amble out to this little point in the desert to watch the sun set.
Along the way to Solstice Point, I enjoy keeping a look out for wildflowers.
And for some reason, for me, the smaller the better.
Depending on how much rainfall the area has had, different types of plants will be in bloom.
By returning to the same location four times a year, I feel that I get to know the place, its landscapes, its flora, and its fauna.
I feel a deep craving to gain this familiarity, wanting to be not just a passer through, but a part time resident. This is one of many ways I enjoy cultivating connections with nature.
But of course, the main purpose of our hike is to watch the sun set on the longest day of the year.
Each year we are treated to a different spectacle. Sometimes clouds catch the fading colors of the sun, lighting up the sky dramatically.
But sometimes a clear sky is offered up, providing a more mellow solstice vision.
And perhaps most importantly, being a witness to the natural cycles of the planet, and the changes of this desert landscape, is for me, a good reminder of my own relative unimportance within the universe.
I am a mere speck in the grand scheme of things, and I find that thought rather reassuring. I guess it takes some of the pressure off of me when I start to feel that I should be doing this or that in my life or that things aren’t working out as I hoped they would.
Whatever woes and joys I may encounter in my life, the land will be here for much longer than I, and the natural cycles will continue.