I am not a religious person in any sense of the word, and I’m not even spiritual, either. But that’s not to say I’m without beliefs, or a sense of deeper connectivity.
I guess you could say that I’m a naturalist. I believe in nature. Maybe I even believe in a little supernature. I don’t know exactly, but that’s okay, because I don’t really care to. What I know is that I feel right when I am outdoors, and I feel most myself when I am connected to the Earth, her cycles, her systems, and her stories.
So I always observe the equinoxes and solstices, in a semi-spiritual, semi-witchy, semi-sciency, totally-Sayward way.
Saturday was the annual Santa Barbara Summer Solstice parade. I’ve been going to this thing for my entire life, and man – I love this parade! Santa Barbara is a little snobby resort town nowadays, but our roots are solidly hippie. We are the birthplace of some of the greatest beatniks, and for many decades remained a strong artist’s community. And although much of that has changed through the years, the Summer Solstice Parade is the one event where all that hippie spirit, all that free love and radical action, well it rears it’s
ugly beautiful head again.
One of my favorite parts of the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice parade is that after the last float passes by, everyone pours into the streets to join the procession. We all become the parade, more and more people adding on as the whole thing moves up the main drag, marching its way to a nearby park. I love that we all become participants.
Jeremy had closed up shop for the afternoon (no business during the parade) and he and I had been watching everything down near the start point. As we joined in the march, we met up with Waits and Damian, as well as Damian’s girlfriend Danielle, and continued on towards the park all together.
We spent the afternoon like that, the five of us. In the park enjoying the party and the music and the games and madness of the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice celebration.
And I have to say, it filled me with joy. Maybe I’m a just weirdo? Because I know that my family doesn’t look like a traditional one, and spending time with your ex and their new partner isn’t most people’s idea of a good time. But for us? It was a damn good day. And I couldn’t help but think – look at this little tribe that Waits has. Look how many people love him.
We found a perfect pool to relax by, and enjoyed a little picnic lunch right there on the rocks. Nothing fancy. Just the two of us.
And it was a really, really perfect day.