I’m nowhere near Stonehenge to see the sun ascend over the Wiltshire plain. No matter, with the crowds gathered there today, I’d have to forge my own Excalibur just to get near enough to the sarsens and Preseli bluestones to wonder how such megaliths got to where they are and wonder if I would pick up any mineral aura or would I just feel the cold of 5,000 years.
The lilies in my garden are at the height of their yellow glory. But I can hear the unbearable sound of their decline in their wilted heads, like imploding suns. Even the lupines have turned from stairways of purple to being adorned with seed husks.
The longest day of the year. It makes you think you can fill it until the pagans come home to roost. I anticipate it to be longer, but it passes with the same even spell of time.
But there’s something about the longest day of the year that reminds me of writing. I’ve heard writing called a “purposeful dreaming,” and there’s enough quixotic truth to it that I’ll dance to the piper’s tune. Sure, there are countless days when the writing is over like a bout of intoxication or the hull hits dry land and you’re still rowing. Although the writing is never really finished, because even when I leave it for a day, the story follows me around as I do the dishes, mow the lawn, tidy the house, don the parent armour so full of chinks, or make a meal. The story is always present in the small kingdom of the skull, building up momentum or releasing solar flares or hissing with dangerous intent. So even though I’m not physically at my desk writing, the basic carbon of a story is forming and is ready to take form when I next sit down.
And then there are days when time is nonexistent. Reality is a sensation, rather than a purpose. Sound is something extrasensory because I’m hearing fictional voices and the wind in the make-believe palms and the smell of camels and the taste of hot figs and the feel of a poignard driving its way into flesh.
At such times, I’m a sole reveler, fingers dancing on the keyboards, a tiny pagan dynamo of worship in the machine of writing. I’m lit up like a ferry at night, slipping through uncharted waters, land somewhere north or south or along a trajectory that is plotted by starlight and memory and the unconscious.
It is a “purposeful dreaming,” a sort of austral dreaming that is required for a man who lives in the northern hemisphere, a tripping over the tropic of Capricorn in the hopes of making the day last even longer.
But the summer solstice comes only once a year. You’ve got to come back to the world of clocks, you’ve got to empty your shoes of the golden sands of time, you’ve got to run the bath and wash the kids and feel night at the window, loaded down with stars.
I will end with an interview with Julian Cope (he of the wonderful Teardrop Explodes), the arch druid, the forward-thinking mofo rocker.