Sunday, June 21, 2009

Solstice, Stonehenge, a King and my Queen

When I opened my eyes at 4:33 a.m., the skies were already lightening. The niggling question of the etymology of carpe diem, drove me to Wikipedia, and I had my answer well before the 5:22 a.m. sunrise on this longest day of the year. Carpe diem, as we use it to urge a robust and passionate life, derives from the last line of a poem that translates to: “Seize the day and place no trust in tomorrow,” Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero.

Wiki refers us to the parallel verse from Isaiah 22:13, “And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die.”

We divided our longest day into three parts, Portland Farmers Market ( ), home remodel project, and the road trip to and from Maryhill’s Stonehenge.

At milepost 54, the Portland clouds turned to Hood River sunshine, where we picked up some food and continued another hour to Maryhill. There was a great spirit at Stonehenge. The Portland Actors Ensemble was setting up in the blustery conditions. A group was picnicking in the shade overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. A motorcycle group rolled in, and many others filled the 200 seats. Then, probably another 100 people crammed into oddly beautiful monument. The group of women in front of us were having a grand old time finishing up their bottles of wine and mugging for the camera. Couples settled in with their food, and the troupe received a very warm welcome as the temperature cooled.

One can only appreciate the monument by sitting there over some time to observe how the arches, pillars, and “doorways” treat visitors with different light, shadows and dramatic views. My snapshots don’t do justice, but here they are:

The play was fun, and considering Father’s day, very appropriate as King Lear is driven to madness by his two rotten daughters. Intermission arrived just before sunset, and we took the opportunity to head home. Perhaps we’ll catch the rest of the play at Cathedral Park in Portland.

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