There’s an ancient proverb from Cornwall, England which says “In summer, remember winter.”
The Celts’ celebration of the summer solstice honors the spirit of this proverb. Summer days are long with sunlight and warmth. There is much to celebrate. But this festival of the earth also remembers that the beautiful days of summer do not last forever. The harvest of fall and the darkness of winter will come again.
In summer, remember winter.
This awareness cultivates a deep sense of gratitude. I suspect it is for this reason that my tear ducts seem to be extra leaky lately. I hug my two year old daughter a bit closer (when she slows down enough to let me). And I squeeze my husband’s hand a bit tighter. Because life is so very sweet these days.
When I watch my toddler charge up fearlessly up the hill in our backyard, I remember the days we spent playing on the bedroom floor waiting for her to roll over.
When I call my mom for advice, I remember the lonely days I spend pretending that I can do it all alone.
When I try to wrestle her wiggly feet into little shoes, I remember her newborn feet-born into this world 8 weeks too early. So small my husband could slide his wedding ring all the way around.
When I hear her yell “Mommy,” I remember sitting anxiously by her bedside in the NICU; listening to her monitors beep and the machines helping her breathe. I wondered if I would ever get to bring her home.
When I kiss my toddler goodnight and snuggle her into bed, I remember the nights I had to kiss her goodnight and leave her in the care of NICU nurses.
This kind of remembering is more than gratitude though, isn’t it? It is about living in the present and living with intention. It is about honoring the past and the people that we have become because of those “winter” experiences. It seems that life is so very good precisely because sometimes it can be so very difficult.
Kelsey is a Celtic Way contributor. Read more about her here.