It’s summer solstice, and I am having my favourite kind of summer solstice day. I have been quietly wandering the stream and beach, picking up fern fronds, pohutukawa blossoms, and dandelions, and finding a place to make an image for the solstice. This is an old practice of mine, and this year I am blessed with a day of solitude before visitors arrive.
The birds have been singing to me as I wander and gather — grey warblers, tuis, welcome swallows, and a kingfisher.
I’ve watched bees swarming around the pohukukawa trees, creating buzzing halos. I was so happy to see them, because bees are becoming scarcer these days. I fantasised about the pohutukawa honey that might soon appear on the local stalls. I tried to photograph the bees, but they dived so fast into the blossoms, burying themselves in those crimson tendrils, that I had trouble catching them.

If you look carefully, you might spot an ecstatic bee in the very centre of the picture, rolling around in the flower.

Here’s the second sun I made on the sand – you’ll see that the background is black because here on the west coast the beaches are made of ironsand.
Wherever you are, in northern or southern hemisphere, I wish you gladness at solstice, and a moment to pause and enjoy.