Celebrating The Summer Solstice

June 23rd, 2015 - filed under: Furthermore » Inspiration

a Summer Solstice

Oh hello, did I tell you I dyed my hair? Well I did, I dyed my hair! So buh-bye Mermaid, hello . . . ??

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.

Here’s how it looked this year:

Summer Solstice b


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.

It’s basically a bunch of half-naked old (and young!) hippie weirdos running around letting their freak flags fly, and I LOVE IT.

Summer Solstice c

Summer Solstice d

Summer Solstice e

Summer Solstice f

Oh look! It’s my god-brother riding a bike and wearing an American flag as a cape!

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.

Summer Solstice g

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.

Summer Solstice h

Summer Solstice i

Summer Solstice j

Summer Solstice k

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.

He’s a lucky kid.

Summer Solstice l


Sunday is the day I get Waits all to myself, and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the true Solstice, than to spend the day surrounded by nature. Shinrin-yoku. Forest bathing.

Summer Solstice m

Political graffiti.

Summer Solstice n
In all my time spent traversing the foothills of southern California, I have never, not once, not ever come across a wild Praying Mantis. To discover one on this day felt like a true Solstice blessing.

Summer Solstice o
We found somebody else’s art

Summer Solstice p
And Waits wanted to leave his own contribution, which he did.

Summer Solstice q

Summer Solstice s

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.

Summer Solstice r

And it was a really, really perfect day.

I hope you all had a beautiful Solstice, and I’m thrilled to say — HAPPY SUMMER! Let’s all promise to make it a good one, okay?

Summer Solstice t

♥ ♥ ♥

  • yogadogwalker

    What a beautiful post! I love all the amazing pictures. Your tribe as you call it is a truly beautiful thing. It’s so wonderful, and good for everybody that you all get along. I love it! And Waits couldn’t be any cuter! Oh, and love the new hair by the way!

  • Rebecca Carnes

    Loove that you guys are all able to come together and create a tribe for Waits ~ he is one lucky little guy:) And the Solstice parade looks like SO much fun!! P and I did a little sun weaving craft & just played in the late day sunshine in the backyard…. perfect evening!!

    Oh…and LOVE the hair!

  • http://www.nyxie.org/ Candice Eisner

    Your hair is super amazing. If you don’t mind my asking, what did you use to dye it? The color is perfect. :)

  • Kristin

    LOVE your hair! Glamazon :)

  • http://angieeatspeace.com/ Angie

    Everything about this post is beautiful. The celebration, the family, the love and your hair!

  • Veronica

    There must be a ‘red’ vibe going around– I just did my own mane with Manic Panic’s Infra-Red.
    And after three years of reading your blog, I’m *still* not over the cuteness that is Waits.

  • http://thejudgmentalvegan.wordpress.com Rachel from The Judgmental Veg

    Ah, that picture of Waits swinging with Jeremy and Damian on either side just slays me. Thank you for sharing :-) Your posts always inspire <3

  • Christa

    to finish your sentence….hello hot mama! LOVE the new ‘do. Also your part about your unconventional family brought tears to my eyes. Very true and very sweet.

  • Melissa

    I enjoy this blog so much. I have lurked for years. I was pulled to check in today and I must say, the words and pictures here have me sobbing. Happy tears. I don’t “know” you, or your lovely family, but I have just been through a divorce and although my kids are young adults, my ex and I are determined to maintain that tribe for them. Coincidence? I don’t know. But God, the earth, whatever you may call it, works in mysterious ways. You have touched a soul in Georgia with your sweet and sharing heart. Just wanted you to know.

  • Rachel in Veganland

    Happy Solstice, Sayward! I have to say i thought of you and your family this weekend, looking forward to this post, as I do every year. Yes, let’s promise to make this summer a good one!

  • http://vocabvegan.blogspot.com Sarah Baker

    Beautiful pictures!

  • Julie

    Sorry, but the birthplace of the “Beat generation” started in 1944 around Columbia University’s campus in NEW YORK CITY! Uh, name one “famous” beatnik who made Santa Barbara the home of the beat generation. Look, I love Santa Barbara as much as the next person. It’s pricey; you need money to live there, and it’s pretty. But don’t make it what it’s definitely not.

  • Candace

    Thanks for sharing Sayward! I feel the same way about nature, too much indoors and city is bad for me. I love your blog and when I read it I always feel better about my lifestyle and how blessed I am to also have an amazing son (who’s birthday is winter solstice, so the solstices are even more special to me now). I love your attitude of gratitude and it always brightens my day. I hope this isn’t too gushy, I just don’t have any mom friends in real life who live this way, so you and blog help me feel more grounded and connected. Thank you!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Damn girl, why you gotta be so nasty? I didn’t say “the home of the beatnik generation”, I said “some of the greatest beatniks”.

    Have you heard of the Mountain Drive Community? (http://www.amazon.com/Mountain-Drive-Barbaras-Bohemian-Community/dp/188537500X) They basically spearheaded hot-tubbing in America, haha, among other things.

    “An extraordinary community grew on the steep hillsides above Santa Barbara, California, following World War II. A landscape of rare and rugged beauty, a family with open-hearted generosity, and freedom from convention allowed the blossoming of a lifestyle that has become legend. The beginnings of the hot-tubbing phenomenon, the Renaissance Faire, the revival of early music, crafts and pageantry- all mounted with a rowdy humor and uninhibited sexuality-hallmark Mountain Drive’s contribution to the California dream. In these pages you will meet some of the families who pioneered the California Bohemian lifestyle, flaunted the authority of the Cold War establishment, and found a common bond on the sun drenched slopes overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The Mountain Drivers were teachers, builders, artists, writers, musicians and dancers. This was no ideal community, no Shangri-la outside the bounds of society. It had the same problems as any American neighborhood. This is the true story of a diverse group who found themselves together in a nexus of change, and made their way to magic -Elias Chiacos”

    Anyway, if you want to be rude you can buzz right off. No place for that here.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you so much, I feel incredibly fortunate to have this little tribe. And thanks about the hair! I’m definitely loving it. =D

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Becca! And sounds like you guys had an awesome Solstice weekend as well. How big is P nowadays? I have a stack of clothes I’ve been saving for you, but I fear he may have already outgrown some of it . . .eep!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Ugh, I had to use something nasty and full of chemicals to cover the blue. It’s not something I would ever recommend. But now that it’s covered I’ll keep the color up with henna, which gives the same hue but is all-natural. I’ve written about henna here: http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2010/05/on-henna/

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Kristin!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you so much Angie!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    It’s weird because I think of red as an autumn thing . . . but it definitely seems to be going around. Very curious . . .

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Rachel, it melted my heart in the moment and I was so glad to be able to capture it. ♥

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Haha, well thank you lady!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh wow, thank you so much Melissa. This comment means so much to me and warms my hart to read. We are all so connected in so many ways. I’m glad my experience resonates with you, and that you are able to share that with me! ♥

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Happy solstice to you too, Rachel! I hope you had a great weekend and were able to celebrate as well. And yes – it’s a promise for sure!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Sarah!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Candace! I love reading this — how amazing to have a Solstice baby. And winter solstice too, I mean talk about ushering in the light!! =D

    Not too gushy, the comments are always so much appreciated. Thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.nyxie.org/ Candice Eisner

    Cool, thanks for the reply! :D

  • veronika

    feeling compelled to do an impromptu le love list today: SCOTUS, man.
    congrats to your family and what you guy have achieved, and to so many others today.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    YES! I actually just posted a Pictures Of Things + Le Love List post, and SCOTUS was the first thing on my love list! Such a happy day. ♥

  • http://thegreenpenn.blogspot.com LIndsey at TheGreenPenn

    I think it’s so wonderful how you guys have made your family work. My parents divorced when I was a teen and spent a few years hating each other before finally making peace, but things are still not “comfortable” when we all get together. Waits is so freaking lucky to have such happy, cooperative, and loving people around him. It makes my heart smile to see your posts like this. :-)

  • Rebecca Carnes

    He just turned 3!!!! Ahhh growing too fast, way too fast! ;) But he’s a skinny mini so he’s in between 2-3T….he even has a few 18month shorts that are still baggy!! But I think those were just made weirdly lol. If any clothes fall in that range we would love, but no worries if not! It’s the thought that counts so thank you for thinking of P:):)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Aww, it goes so fast!! I never believed that until Waits turned five, and then I was Like WAIT WHAT?? And it’s totally true, it goes so fast and then poof, it’s gone. *le sigh* (Things I need to not think too hard about, lest I fall into mommy sadness.)

    But okay, good to know he’s still in the right range. I’ll send the package this week, lots of variety with both summer and winter stuff. Hope you like it!

  • Rebecca Carnes

    I know! I have to keep my mommy sadness in check lol It’s amazing to watch them grow but def. bittersweet…. and awesome!! Thank you so so much, we will love having the clothes:)

  • Nina

    You are completely normal. Tons of ppl still talk to their exes etc. Nothing weird or strange or unusual about you way of living ;)