Ah, after the pyrotechnics of last night’s lightening strikes and Aeolian blustering, the longest day of the year has arrived with its magical moon that will drive the devotees of Dionysius from their dorms into frothing streets of the Holy City – but, no, wait, hold on; it’s the summer solstice! The College is out until August.
That’s right, those dim-witted imbibers and garden urinators have returned to wherever in Off they’re from – Jersey City, Peoria, Cincinnati, Charlotte – and we say good riddance, especially if we live on Warren or George or Society Streets, where those sons and daughters of Belial are wont to dwell, reverberations from their self-indulgence echoing into the wee hours, disturbing the sleep of respectable burghers who live a life of not-so-quiet desperation, thanks to Bacchanalian cries of the inebriated.
In Courts and Palaces [Belial] also Reigns
And in luxurious Cities, where the noise
Of riot ascends above their loftiest Towers,
And injury and outrage: And when Night Darkens the
Streets, then wander forth the Sons
Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
Paradise Lost, Book 1 497-502
Happily, Caroline, Brooks, and I-and-I live far from that madding crowd in our little jungle paradise on the backside of Folly Island, 10 blocks away from the front-beach Center Street shit show. Things have quieted since the alcohol ban seven years ago – a half-ton less of detritus is strewn about the sands, according to officials. And Folly Gras is a thing of the past, and a recent city ordinance has banned outdoor music after ten. It seems our city government is trying to change Folly from “The Edge of America” to “The Beige of America.” Whatever the case, I’m certainly in favor of less litter.
Hit it, TS Eliot:
The [beach] bears [fewer] empty bottles, sandwich papers,
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
Or other testimony to summer nights.
“The Waste Land” 176-9
Yet, there’s something about the ripeness inherent in the summer solstice that cries out for revelry – the shedding of clothing, purple-stained mouth[s], ecstatic exclamations of pure joy.
It’s a day to celebrate Paganism – those all-too-human gods and goddesses – and their tolerance of the wild hair, their sanctioning of frenzy, their cult of fertility – latitude not afforded us via Hebraic mythology.
So beware, neighbors. This evening you might hear some moon-howling, some blaring Zydeco music, the thumping of crazed dancers doing the Wa-wa-tusi:
You know I feel alright?
Feel pretty good, y’all
Not to mention beer cans, dirty diapers, used condoms, discarded panties, fast food bags, abandoned flip flops.