Peter Cavanaugh

Solstice Sunday

You won’t feel a thing.

At 9:38 a.m. OT (Oakhurst Time) this Sunday, June 21, it will suddenly be Summer 2015 - the exact point of the Summer Solstice.

The word “solstice” comes from the Latin “solstitium,” combining “sol” (sun) and “stitium” (stop). Such occurs twice a year as winter and summer begin. The sun seems to stop, then reverse its angle toward us in the days that follow. It’s not immediately evident. Don’t try staring. Doing so could make you blind, unlike other actions that really don’t, no matter what folks say.

The fact that Latin is involved suggests the phenomenon has been happening for quite some time - since way before the dawn of man, monkeys or even mud. That last didn’t come about until sufficient water was formed and eventually mixed with earth 2.4 billion years ago.

Actually, the age of most water is even older than the sun since almost every drop on our planet comes from interstellar ice, showering our planet in fiery magnificence from some time after the Universe exploded with a great big bang 13.82 billion years ago – coming into being out of what might even be nothing.

Incidentally, I find absolutely no contradiction between “Evolution,” “Creationism,” and “Intelligent Design,” since 6,000 years and 13.82 billion are all the same to a God who is eternal and timeless. I’d like to thank Father Daniel Berrigan, S.J. for such helpful insight.

A different Jesuit priest, Father George Coyne, S.J. is a bit more dismissive, bluntly criticizing both “Creationism” and “Intelligent Design” as “not being scientific.” Astrophysicist Coyne is now McDevitt Chair of Religious Philosophy at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, that alma mater of mine.

For 28 years Father Coyne was Director of the Vatican Observatory in Rome. He even has an asteroid named after him. He writes, “We’re born of stardust in a very real sense.” He also states, “God shared with the Universe his own creativity. It’s a marvelous God.”

Our sun was worshipped as a God, itself, throughout much of recorded history in various forms, such as in Egyptian Atonism in the 14th Century B.C. and the Sun Dance of The Plains Indians of North America. Ancient Rome celebrated the feast of Sol Invictus (The Unconquered Sun) with great joy on Dec. 25, a date later celebrated by many in the world as Christmas.

Pagan predecessors would commemorate the Summer Solstice by dancing around bonfires, but that’s hardly a good idea in Oakhurst this year.

We’re more responsibly celebrating Summer Solstice weekend with “Sounds of Solstice 2015” from Noon till 8 p.m. at the Oakhurst Community Park this Saturday featuring live music, vendors, children’s activities and more. My friend and current Oakhurst Honorary Mayor, Mat Sands, has put together a totally terrific time for the whole family. Think “Little House on the Prairie” and “Woodstock” combined without worrying about “brown acid” or any of that mud previously discussed, celestially derived or not.

An exceptional band lineup includes special guest “Dave T,” “The Dave Henderson Group,, “The Executive Rockers,, “Richfield,, “Ten Ton Chicken,” and “Green Machine.”

Mat says attendees can enjoy shopping with local vendors selling jewelry, clothing, crafts and other assorted goodies. There’ll be a well-anchored bounce house for the kids and fun contests galore offering special treats.

Adults can enjoy terrific craft beers from South Gate Brewing Company, and fine wine from our award winning Idle Hour Winery.

Bring whatever you would normally carry with you to the park, including a chair for lounging, a canopy for shade, a football for tossing, or a chest of Kool-Aid. You can even cart along a dog or two. But the only alcoholic beverages allowed must be purchased on site. That’s not only the law, but to help increase “Sounds of Solstice” proceeds for The Boys and Girls Club of Oakhurst. And if you spent $200 to see The Rolling Stones in LA, relax. Admission is only $10 for adults. Kids under 12 free.

I also hope to see you Saturday at The 16th Annual Oakhurst Rib Fest at the Community Center, this year celebrating its 50th Anniversary of the community’s favorite gathering spot.

This Rib Fest is the only annual fundraiser sponsored by the community center board of directors that includes leadership from every significant service club in the area and The Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce.

Solstice Sunday is also Fathers Day. So make dad glad with rock in the park and ribs after dark, then a fun day on Sunday – the only day of the week named after you know what.

Because like an eternal sun – fathers are forever.