Sunday, June 22, 2008 – The Summer Solstice Aftermath

Now as the days get shorter, I begin to feel that familiar melancholy.   While others recognize the summer solstice as the start of summer; I recognize it as a shift in the length of day.  The summer solstice marks my saddest seasonal day.  Conversely, I find the winter solstice (December 21st) my happiest seasonal day when the days begin to lengthen again. 

When I set out to create a new fundraiser for the JC Raulston Arboretum – one that would reach out far and wide to raise awareness and much needed money to help implement the new master plan and to fund the Endowment of Excellence –  I choose to hold it on the summer solstice because of its significance in the growing season. 

In ancient and modern times, the world over celebrates the summer solstice – recognizing this midsummer’s eve as a time to celebrate. This day marks the halfway point from planting to harvesting. After this night, the days will start getting shorter.  For on this night, we want time to stop – we want to hold onto the last long day before the celestial clock makes our days shorter, getting closer each day until the dark days fall upon us again.  It is said that on this day, many mythical goddesses and fairies can be seen.  If ever there was a time to party, it is now. 

Last night we saw celebrations of many kinds all over the state – dozens of parties.  Out came all the magic the solstice generates.  If you believe as your ancestors did, on this one night much will be revealed.  It is a night of love.  It is a night of optimism.  It is all that we make of it.  On this day, it is a night to imagine all that can be. 


Dr. J.C. Raulston imagined all that the Arboretum could be.  His legacy lives on with his namesake at NC State University, and now under the direction of Dr. Dennis (Denny) Werner, we have much to do to continue to build upon J.C.’s legacy.  Last night was the beginning of an annual appeal of parties to help fund the Arb.  I am honored by each host who opened their homes and hearts to their friends and neighbors with the purpose of helping the JCRA.


To make a financial contribution, your tax-deductible donations may be made to the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, Campus Box 7522, Raleigh, and NC 27695-7522.


Helen Yoest


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