The Lingering Light of Summer

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J_Fiona-750One of the things I loved the most about studying at a university on Scotland’s beautiful northern coastline, was having long, long summer days. During May, the month we finished up classes and sat our exams, the sun would hang around in the sky until after 10 p.m. The light lingered long after the coffee shops and bars had turned out their gaggle of students trying to cram in knowledge at the last minute. Those years, late on Thursday evenings, my flatmates and I would often cross the road from our corner flat, head under the ancient archway in the road that was once part of the Abbey, and disappear into a tiny chapel in the private school grounds. Here they held a sung Compline service once a week, one of the many university choirs turning up in their red wool robes to guide us through the beautiful night prayers together.

Save us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep may rest in peace.

I’d slip back out of that short evening service in some kind of heavenly trance, to see the remnants of light still clinging to the pale sky, the birds still singing their evening tunes to the fading day. The summer solstice has become one of my favourite times of year. It tends to sneak up on me, coming so early before the European schools have closed for the year, when everyone is still “looking forward” to the summer. This year is different though. My Midsummer Baby is due to arrive any day now. I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for many months, counting down the weeks, the days. And as the light lingers longer in the sky each night, we find any excuse to sit out on the balcony and take it all in. This time seems to hang heavy with significance—this moment before our lives are forever changed. It’s like nature is slowing down time so I can take it all in, allowing these extra hours and minutes of light to sit and absorb all that is happening within me. And maybe that’s why I’ve grown to love the summer months so much, because they call to me to slow down, they teach me a new rhythm in my days, to notice the hundred shades of pink and blue the sky turns as it greets the night. I remember what it feels like for my breath to slow down, the tension to lift off my chest, to notice once more the birds singing rather than the incessant ping of my smart phone. I’ve started to embrace many of the seasonal festivals these past years—the equinoxes, solstices, May Day and Harvest Festival. I’ve found new wisdom in the old ways of marking the changing seasons, the lengthening and shortening of the days. I’ve come to see it all now as an incredible gift from our endlessly creative God—the way his world, every creature and plant he imagined and brought into being, has something to teach us about what it means to truly live. And this midsummer? It’s giving me time to pause, time to reflect and release all my fear to the one who loves me. It’s giving me time to hope with great joy for all that’s about to come. And so I’ll sit out again on the balcony tonight, a light blanket to ward off the evening chill, my feet up, maybe a glass of lemonade to drink, and I’ll remember to thank Creator God for his gift of lingering light and the way he’s so beautifully set me within his rhythm of creation.

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Fiona Koefoed-Jespersen
Fiona lives in London with her Danish husband and her two young children. She is determinedly seeking the sacred in the ordinary, learning to see that even the most mundane moments of her day can be spiritual if she wakes up to the Divine in those places. She is in training to become a Spiritual Director, and baking is her favourite spiritual practice. You can follow her through her blog at fionalynne.com.
Fiona Koefoed-Jespersen
Fiona Koefoed-Jespersen

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Fiona Koefoed-Jespersen

Comments

  1. pastordt says:

    What a lovely reverie – I can smell the summer evening air as I sit outside in the lingering light with you, I can hear the dulcet sounds of compline. Enjoy this mid-summer baby time, Fiona. Praying for a safe delivery, for an easy transition, for the deep joy that comes with the birth of a much-loved, long-wanted child.

  2. You went to St Andrews too?!!

  3. Yes, I love that summer expects is to slow down. Even though it’s an active season, with hiking and playing outdoors, it’s not busy. I love the idea of celebrating solstice – may need to have a party!

    • fiona lynne says:

      Oh do it! Yes, there can be something about “rest” that is very active for some people! It’s that change from the normal busy-ness – instead learning to stop and not panic that everything else will stop if you aren’t there to keep it going 🙂

  4. LOVE this Fiona. What a romantic thought: a midsummer baby, or a midsummer night baby, perhaps? 😉 A dream, either way you look at it, this growing and gestation, this waiting and wondering. Wish I could sit out there on your balcony with you and watch the sun go down (although I’d probably fall asleep long before that!) xo

    • fiona lynne says:

      I’m secretly hoping it comes a little early, but then that’s not the trend with first babies… oh and I would love to have you join me on the balcony one day! x

  5. Claire De Boer cjdeboer says:

    So beautiful, Fiona! I can’t wait to meet that summer baby! xo

  6. Anne-Marie says:

    Fiona, how wonderful to ponder, as the wise women of the scriptures did, and store up in your heart. Ours were summer babies too. So lovely to let them breath and be less heavily clothed in the warm air. I love your thought about God’s wisdom in giving us seasons, and marking them. Will be thinking about how to honor my less favorite ones as well! 🙂

    • fiona lynne says:

      I love that you reminded me of the women of scripture when their babies were coming, or born. Oh to have their wisdom and mindfulness in this new season!
      I’ve also found that marking the seasons has helped me appreciate them better – in the cold grey months, it’s helped me notice what is good, what is beneficial, what is happening under the surface even when I don’t see it…

  7. Julie-Anne Mauno says:

    Just beautiful Fiona! Our first baby was born mid-summer and we have fond memories of it! Love the extra light we get this time of year. Such a gift. I love the idea of using that “extra time” wisely to pause and reflect and, yes, to release our fears (especially when birth and change are imminent). Blessings on your birth journey and new chapter of life! Julie-Anne <3

  8. Nicole A. Joshua says:

    Even though your post is about summer, these words represent what winter – the season the Southern Hemisphere is in right now – is for me “It’s giving me time to pause, time to reflect and release all my fear to the one who loves me. It’s giving me time to hope with great joy for all that’s about to come.” Thank you for the call to slow down and savour goodness in the here and now.

    • fiona lynne says:

      I love that each season can bring it’s own space, in a new and different way maybe, but still that call to be present to the current moment, not always looking forward and missing it. xx

  9. Saskia Wishart says:

    So happy for your that your midsummer baby is almost here… revel in these long days of quiet and rest my friend.

  10. This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. May much joy await you with the coming of your little one. 🙂

  11. sandyhay says:

    “I remember what it feels like for my breath to slow down, the tension to lift off my chest, to notice once more the birds singing rather than the incessant ping of my smart phone.” MUCH needed words today.

  12. Bev Murrill says:

    How beautiful this is, Fiona. I, too, have grown to LOVE summer in the northern hemisphere, though at first when I moved to the UK I was completely confused by it, going shopping and finding all the shops shut because it felt like mid afternoon but was actually 7.30pm… but of everything I love about UK, the long summer days is probably the uppermost.

    I love what you’ve written … it has such an earth mother feel as you wait for this new little one to emerge and show you who s/he is… wonderful

    • Saskia Wishart says:

      We have the same here Bev! The shops close so early in the Netherlands, I keep missing dinner because I only realise it is evening at 10pm because it stays light so long…

    • fiona lynne says:

      You do develop a wonderful ability to lose track of time 😉 x

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