Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Here comes the sun (do-da-doo-doo), and you might as well get out there and bask because today is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. It's all downhill from here; starting tomorrow, the days start getting shorter again, so go soak it up while you can.

This is also the first day of summer, according to our modern calendar, which is weird because this season is also traditionally known as Midsummer. (Wrestled out of the grasp of the pagans by the Church, as usual, and co-opted into Christian mythology, the festival of Midsummer now technically falls on June 24, St. John's Day in the Christian calendar.) But it makes more sense if you go back to the seasonal Celtic calendar, when summer was reckoned from May 1 to August 1, with the Summer Solstice landing smack in the middle—hence, Midsummer.

And if you remember your Shakespeare, you also know that Midsummer is one of those uncanny times when fairies and sprites are said to run amok in the world of mortals. The yellow flowers of St. Johns Wort are recommended, draped over doorways and across thresholds to keep the most mischievous of Puck's legions at bay.

Of course, here in Santa Cruz, one of the best parts of summer is the summer produce now flooding our local farmers markets. Strawberries, apricots, peppers, oh my! In celebration of this phenomenon, Aptos printmaker Liz Lyons Friedman has produced this fabulous new linocut, which just won the competition for 35th Anniversary commemorative poster for the Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Market organization. Congratulations, Liz!

Liz will display this poster, along with a selection of her original hand-colored linocuts and woodcuts, at the Aptos Farmers Market at Cabrillo College this Saturday, June 25, until about noon. And mark your datebooks for Saturday, July 23, when Liz will be back at the Market signing copies of her poster at the Farmers Market 35th Anniversary celebration.

Whatever calendar you prefer, what better way to celebrate the season than strolling among the bins of local bounty, listening to live music, and soaking up the rays? These are the days we wait for all year, so make them count!

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