midsummer madness

wildfire smoke, Gredos
The last two posts have mentioned the noche de San Juan, when celebratory bonfires are lit, but I had rather thought that that would be enough of the subject for this year. After all, the hogueras are lit on the evening of June 23rd, and today they should all be over.

Sadly, though, someone seems to have got the dates mixed and started un incendio in the middle of the day today.

The whole afternoon has been accompanied by the screaming sirens of the police and fire brigade, and the thrumming of the helicopters called out to deal with it.
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midsummer day

Today is midsummer’s day, a fact that always confused me as a child: if June 21st was the first day of summer and the 24th was midsummer, did that mean it was all over on the 27th?

Actually, given British summers, it wasn’t that really all that confusing. Perhaps if I’d known then about the St John’s bonfires, I’d have thought it quite reasonable that you might need to light a fire to keep warm even in late June.

Book dedication: Midsummer Day, 1910

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Looking for something summery to post for San Juan, I found this:

sunny verandah
a scattering
of kittens and kibble

Cat family lounging on sunny verandah

The photo appears to have been taken on June 24th, two years ago. The blog post for that day is a proper Midsummer Night poem: noche de san juan.

noche de san juan

I dreamed of you last night and woke
to moonlight, sheet-tangled feet
cat-twisted and cold.

I drowsed again, through decades, slipped
between cities and crossed continents,
embracing and embraced,
now chasing and now chased,
no pause between the kisses passed
from partner on to partner
down through the yearning years.

I dreamed of you last night
and woke to moonlight.

(St John’s Eve – Midsummer Night – is celebrated across Spain with fire jumping in the street and general festivities. It’s supposed to be a time of powerful magic, and seemed a suitable title for this slightly chaotic dream poem.)