The Summer Solstice (or Summer Solstice Festival) is an annual pagan holiday celebrated by the modern Pagans, Druids, Wiccans, and New Agers. Historians know that it has been celebrated since prehistory. The exact date of the Summer Solstice varies by about 11 minutes and is not based on the Gregorian calendar. It is a time that Pagan cultures around the world have celebrated since ancient times.
This past Sunday, while others took a day off to enjoy the outdoors, I took a break from my office to visit my favorite place: the park. I walked around the picnic area, looking at the groups of people playing Frisbee or tossing a ball around with each other. I saw a group gathered together playing a game with small animals. I looked on the ground and saw a few balls of different colors lying around the place. I stopped to observe them as they bounced on top of one another, occasionally colliding and creating a rainbow of colors.
On August 1st, Venus, Saturn, and the Moon will align in the sky and cause a very romantic event to happen.
You’re in for a huge surprise if you head down to the Woods today. hummed Five Pentacles murmured quietly as she prepared a little picnic for herself and Little Girl, who were attending a Teddy Bears’ Picnic lunch with other parents. It was a hot day, and Five was worried that the processed cheese sandwiches might melt before the picnic began. Also, white bread. She was aware of what some of the other moms would say, but the final end-of-day-reduced-price bread had been white, and she was a beggar who couldn’t pick at the time.
The entrance of Seven Wands with Little Boy, who was cutting his rear teeth and already looked hot and fretful, was heralded by two loud bangs on the front door. “Are you ready, then?” Seven inquired. “All I have to do now is put Little Girl in the buggy, and we’ll be good to go.” “Don’t forget the bear,” Seven cautioned, “there’ll be a ruckus if we show there without bears… ….. where did you acquire it, then?” she continued, her gaze falling on Little Girl’s battered toy. She continued, “Not that mine is much better.” “I suppose it’s the same location as yours,” Five speculated. Seven inquired, “Beyond Redemption?” Five people nodded.
The two ladies set off on their journey. Because they were both newbies, they were allies rather than genuine friends. They didn’t want to “join in,” but life would have been more difficult if they hadn’t, so they made the most of it and limited their public appearances. The Teddy Bears Picnic seemed to be an annual occurrence that could not be avoided. Seven described the situation as “very competitive.” “Just be prepared to deal with some not-so-polite inquiries.” “You’ll be great at it,” Five predicted, “but I’m not so sure about me.”
The tiny park was already crowded with moms who had set up small tables and chairs or big rugs. (“I forgot the rug,” Seven remarked, “so we’ll have to sit on the grass and get grass stains.”) “Couldn’t there be a seat somewhere?” Five wondered. “It was probably about 6 a.m. this morning.” “Oh.”) Each pitch also has its own big refrigerator and at least one teddy bear. Five said, “Isn’t there anybody else here like us?” “That fairly squabbly lot over there,” Seven said, pointing to five arguing mothers whose children were engaged in a bear battle. “It’s best if we remain here; I’ve been with them before and it wasn’t fun. It won’t be nice here, either, but it will be unpleasant in a different way.” The heart of Five plummeted.
Five and Seven sat on some old plastic bags found in the bottoms of their buggies at a spot that was nearly in the shade. Five said, “She’s brought quite a spread.” “Ah, yeah, the family of the Ten Pentacles. Their little son is very shy…..” Five Pentacles and Seven Wands were dealt, and the youngsters ate their way through their tiny sandwich packages. Five poured tap water into a little cup and remarked, “It’s not what it says on the bottle.” “Neither is this,” Seven replied, “same as yours but with some orange added.”
“That’s what I wanted,” a little child said as he dashed towards Five and Seven, grabbing for the own-brand digestives. Five said, “Would you want a biscuit?” “They are pretty simple ones.” He was about to consume the whole package when his mother grabbed him by the seat of his pants and yanked him away. “I’m sorry, but my small child has no idea what he wants. I brought all this food in, which is exactly what he stated he wanted this morning, and now he refuses to eat any of it…… Thank you for one biscuit and then return here to enjoy your own meal or share it with these kids.”
Seven Wands abruptly remarked, “I believe I’d best leave.” “Little Boy seems to be a little peaky. Maybe it’s just his teeth, but I believe he’d be happier at home…… If you don’t want to go, don’t. Look at Little Girl, she’s happy playing with some of the others; who knows, one of the other moms may even talk to you!” She immediately collected her belongings and went.
The mother of the little digestive biscuit kid said, “Why don’t you come and sit with me?” “Perhaps you recognize me as Seven Cups?” She patted her rug as well. For a time, the two were engaged in a motherly discussion when they saw their two children and a little Ten Pentacles rushing towards them. Ten stumbled and fell flat on his face. Five Pentacles rushed over to assist him. “You’re fine,” she replied, “just a little dirty.” You’ll be OK; I’ll clean you up and Mummy will be over in a minute.” Five soaked some kitchen paper with drinking water from the bottle and cleaned up tiny Ten, who was more startled than hurt. “You have a tiny weeny scrape here,” Five said, “so I’ll cover it with a teeny weeny sticking plaster till you go home.” Ten humbly acquiesced to these bribes. He replied, “Fank you,” and went back to playing with his new pals.
A pounding voice said, “You shoved my kid over.” Mrs Ten Pentacles gave Seven Cups and her kid a cold stare. “No, I don’t believe so,” Five Pentacles said, “he simply tripped.” Mrs Ten maintained, “He was shoved.” “And what did you use to clean him up with?” “That’s TAP WATER, I can smell it from here,” she said after a little pause. You don’t know any better, do you? Mrs Ten Pentacles said, glancing at the bottle, “Oh, I see, you’re one of them who can’t afford good drinking water.” Come on, Junior, we’d best get going,” she said as she dragged her kid from behind Mrs Seven Cups and started to walk away.
Mrs. Ten Pentacles came to a halt and turned to face Five Pentacles. “That reminds me of a dress I used to own,” she said. Between her thumb and fingers, she brazenly touched the cloth of one of the sleeves. “It’s good stuff,” she said. Five Pentacles hoped Seven Pentacles could protect her from her tormentor. “It’s not exactly like the one I had, though.” Some of the other moms stood nearby, but not too close. Five Swords said, “Didn’t you submit that to Pre-loved a few years ago?” “Actually, I bought it from Beyond Redemption, and then took it in so it fit,” Five Pentacles replied, taking a big breath and planting her feet firmly.
Five Pentacles stowed her belongings in the buggy, buckled in a dejected Little Girl, and bid the Seven Cups farewell. Five Pentacles thought she heard clapping as she went through the park gates, but that was doubtful unless they were holding a Teddy Bear competition or something else she had forgotten about. Her cottage was on the outskirts of the hamlet, nearly out of it, and she was weary, so the trip home seemed like a slog. A vehicle drove slowly by before pulling up close ahead. Mrs. Seven Cups was able to escape. She replied, “I’ll run you the rest of the way.” “The buggy,” Five started. “It’s a large vehicle, so we’ll all fit in, even the buggy.” “Thank you,” Five replied, “walking is difficult this afternoon for some reason.”
When the Fives arrived at their gate, Mrs Seven Cups remarked, “I hope you don’t mind, but here is part of the food my small son turned down.” Otherwise, it’ll be a waste.” Five gave her new friend a wary glance. Mrs Seven smiled and said, “You’ll be doing me a favor.” “And I’m hoping our kids can play together now and then?”
“By the way, I thought I heard clapping as I left,” Five said. Was there an award presentation or anything else I should have attended? Only by then, I’d had enough.” Mrs. Seven Cups burst out laughing. “No one has ever challenged Mrs Ten Pentacles before. It was for you that the applause was given!”
Lucy Voss is a writer who lives in New York City.
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