Standing in the Light—Summer Solstice 2014

“Lift Up Your Eyes!” – Beloved Community & Maya Angelou’s Words Came Together – as Dozens Stand in the Light to Celebrate the Tree of Life & Summer Solstice!

It was a warm and inviting day on June 21, perfect for celebrating the longest day of the year and beginning of summer. About 60 people gathered at Victor Steinbrueck Park to participate in the inspirational ceremony of Standing in the Light powerfully presided by Betsy Greenman of the Homeless Remembrance Project and Reverend Linda Smith of SKY Urban Empowerment & Transformational Center.

Words of welcome were spoken and all were told about the purpose of our gathering. Partners who host Leaves of Remembrance were called out and stepped forward. After the ceremony more than 150 people shared fellowship and delicious food provided by Uli’s Sausages, Tom Douglas and Mt. Townsend Creamery.

The greatest and most moving moment of the day was honoring the passing of Maya Angelou and the reading of her great poem On The Pulse of Morning—words Maya had spoken at the Inauguration of President Clinton on January 20, 1993—read aloud by all 60 encircling the Tree of Life. In her words excerpted here she became The Tree that speaks to us all:

Today the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind.
Come to me here beside the River.
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

I am the Tree planted by the River
Which will not be moved.
I am yours—your passages have been paid.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.

On Saturday, The Beloved Community, The Tree of Life and Maya Angelou’s words came together as one – now and forever.


Gathering together.
Our powerful presiders.
Finding comfort.
Dr. Wes Browning.
Ceremony around the tree.
Friends and supporters.
The ceremony.
Magic always happens when people come together—in this case, literally, as a Market busker joined the celebration.
There was plenty of delicious food!
Plenty to share.
Crab cake sliders from Tom Douglas.
Uli’s sausages.
This Leaf cutout sheet represents some of the work that lies ahead, as we plan Leaf Laying ceremonies in a few Seattle neighborhoods. We go into the work ahead refreshed and renewed by our time Standing—together—In The Light.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.