Last night we celebrated winter solstice by the Merri Creek. I made a picnic dinner using ingredients from our weekly organic vegie box. We're now part of a vegie co-op, a new co-op that's being formed with the help of another local co-op that's already been running for several years. On Thursday we picked up our first box and I have to say, I have never tasted apples so good. Or had so many pears to eat. The mushrooms are superb and the broccoli was also surprisingly good, with none of that supermarket sulphur taste. Anyway, most of the members of the co-op were there last night. Along with friends and neighbours, people from various groups around the community. This estate has a human connectedness that I've never experienced in a place before. I couldn't have imagined that I'd live somewhere like this and it continues to surprise me. I totally love it.
We dressed warmly, even though it didn't end up being all that cold. It was exciting crossing the foot bridge and walking up along the creek, pulling our shopping trolley that G found in the hard rubbish, with a rucksack on it filled with blankets and food. G also had his fagot. Made from a dead standard rose bush, candle wax and cotton dipped in vegetable oil. He spent a fair bit of the afternoon working on it while I baked a cake and made carrot dip (we also have rather a lot of carrots). We set up our blanket, chatted and mingled while Grace ran around with the other kids. Somehow, in between all the excitement we ate a bit of dinner. Then everyone came into a circle, more or less, and we lit candles and lamps. Dave made a low key speech, including an acknowledgment of the traditional owners of the land and something about the intention to gather here to celebrate the summer solstice and the spring and autumn equinoxes. As Dave began to lead the group on a walk up the hill, Gerard set his fagot ablaze. It was quite spectacular, although it freaked a few people out (including me) that kids were trying to light their candles from it. I helped a few kids and then realised that Grace had gone up the top of the cliff without us. I bolted up and there she was, tagging along with another family. Next time I'm going to put a glowstick on her, because they sure are easy to loose track of in the dark. Apart from a few minor issues about candles going out and some kids having torches coveted by other kids, it was a beautiful lovely thing to do. We stood at the top of the cliff and saw the fire and Gerard with his blazing fagot. Back at the quarry we had some cake and more running around, and then sat around the fire talking and such until a few spots of rain convinced us that it might be a good time to leave. When we got home, Grace was super tired and went straight to bed after washing the black from her face and hands. We read half a story from the fairy tale book (The Snow Queen) and I tucked her in, still smelling of campfire smoke, one of my all time favourite scents.