Hello readers, happy midsummer to you. Thanks for joining me here at the vertex of these various web servers, trains of thought, lines of text, wifi signals, wave–particle axes, etc. Here we are. This June transmission of Polylith arrives as a musing on meditation.

A branch of willow reaches upward between others blurry on either side. Attached to the stem are compact whorls of leaves covered in fine down, and from among them three upright catkins going to seed. The out-of-focus orange twigs contrast with the clear blue sky behind. Low sunlight illuminates everything from the right.

At the summer solstice we are flooded with images. Meditation here is an opening of pupils and palms, ears, lungs and fantasies to the flood. Drink in the images and let them saturate the body — never mind that they skitter and glance behind the eyes, seem contradictory one moment and consonant the next, spill over the rim — just drink deep. We will need them soon.

The sun in June finds its counterpart in the full moon at the winter solstice. Both elicit an opening, but the gradient in winter is such that instead of needing to consume ever new images, we are able to empty ourselves of those that have accumulated. We can project them onto the dim shapes that waver and slip in the darkness, and then, empty of images, we have access to darkness for an interval before the gradient turns and we begin to fill again.

In this way the moon guides in epicycle what the sun guides over a yearlong ellipse, and each, in a tricky way, guides a greater circular work that itself must be undertaken over the course of a life. It isn’t linear work, as some would have us believe, but lunar; we are less river than tidepool. We fill and empty our bodies in response to the images as they arrive: if we strive for emptiness amid the flood we starve, and then in darkness must devour what thin projections we can find — and thus miss both opportunities. Put briefly (after the Wilhelm/Baynes translation of the I Ching):

In the light, consuming furthers.
In darkness, emptying is possible.

And here at the solstice, what images there are to consume! Butterflies tumble conjoined in the evening breeze and fine-ringed caterpillars grow by the hour at the gnawed margin, tadpoles rise like ten thousand black drops of yin to the raining yang. Tern in startling plunge from the corner of the eye, merlin’s brilliant logarithmic swoop; coreopsis like flakes from a golden lithic core and thistle in deliciously quiet bloom. Wind rises and falls, rain soaks to skin, bones bleach at the wrackline. Drink deep, and never mind that apprehension, though close, is ever just out of sight.

I posted a few more Island lines since last month, in case you find yourself in need of yet more strange musings. And as always, subscriptions to the quarterly zine Drift Body are open. The second issue is in the works now and will disperse by mail in mid-August, a week or two later than planned on account of how full my days are with fieldwork right now. Ah, summer.

Until then, may the flood of images here at the solstice — whether touched with joy or pain, grief, hunger or relief — be for you withal sustaining.