[ 23:26 thursday 21 june – hampstead heath, london ]
sergio and i cycled up here to the middle of hampstead heath to mark the solstice. we’re sitting at the top of a hillock crowned with a circle of pine trees. i always found this place interesting. at the other side of the coppice six or seven people are sitting in a circle chanting. the sound of drumming drifts over from the other side of the heath. it’s almost midnight but the western the sky is still light.
as i write a curtain draws silently across highgate hill in front of us and shortly afterwards a fine drizzle starts to fall. the sound of drums grows more distinct and a walking band of half a dozen african drummers emerges from the trees and crosses the hillock behind us.
all in all the atmosphere is pleasingly strange up here. i thought we’d be alone so it’s good to see other people making an effort to celebrate today’s mid-point of the solar year.
one of the things i find most dis-spiriting about city life is the almost complete detachment from natural cycles. the same food is in the shops all year. the streets are light around the clock. concrete and steel stubbornly refuse to sprout and blossom in the spring.
what i miss most of all is the connection to the lunar cycle i felt on st agnes and stromboli. living there the nights around the full moon felt palpably different from other times and i think everyone in the community shared this consciousness. the effect it wrought on the environment was absolutely startling. here in london it’s possible for full moon to come and go completely unnoticed.
this year i decided to try and stay better connected with the planetary cycles, even though i’m here in london. so every full moon i cycle out to some patch of grass where there are fewer streetlamps and watch the moon for half an hour. and tonight, the solstice, i wanted to get away from the cars and buildings for a moment so here I am.
: c :