The end of Summer is always sentimental, isn’t it? The cloudless blue sky, splash of water, dazzling sunshine, and a long long afternoon. Every year, Summer enchants us with its charms. Now, the season is slowly passing the baton to the mellower one. Let’s reflect on our Summer for the NION Community. We celebrated the Sun in various ways.
In March, we had an ideation workshop for “Biodiver-City Hack,” NION’s initiative to retrieve our connection to Urban Nature. Conscious shopping, energy and water consumption saving, waste and plastic management… we tend to see them as effortful, extra tasks to tackle. We think that it’s simply because we are highly disconnected from Nature in our everyday life. If we are more capable of feeling other being’s lives and appreciating the natural elements that enable our bodies to automatically function, our choices and behaviors won’t be as blind but change themselves to be mindful and synergetic to our environment and climate.
In the ideation workshop, we generated many seeds of actions, voted for several favorite ones, and started planning on them. We spent our community meetings from April to mid June for forming teams and designing contents.
Summer Solstice Celebration
We started off a series of NION Summer celebrations with the Summer Solstice on 21. June. in collaboration with La Foresta, collective of artists, somatic learners, environmental experts, and more who are dedicated to personal, relational and global sustainability, transdisciplinary approach, artistic sensibilities and embodied culture.
Both La Foresta and NION envision that deep richness of forests is much needed in our urban life. We found a perfect spot in Grunewald to appreciate the Sun on the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. In the design process, we referred to our different cultural backgrounds, folklores, children’s books, mythology, traditions, and religious rituals (our team consisted of German, Russian, Georgian, Japanese, American, Italian, and South African.) Yet, it was important for us to co-create a new story that makes sense to us Berliners in the present, rather than replicate old stories. We valued our bodily senses, seasonal harvests, playfulness, and silence.
Actually, not to forget to mention, the Summer Solstice celebration began with the Sunrise meditation on the Spree bank in Treptower Park. It wasn’t the easiest thing to catch the earliest Sunrise of the year at 4:43am. When we felt the auspicious Sunshine shed on our chilled bodies after meditation, however, all paid off. The Sunrise is simply special. A spectacular that Nature broadcasts through the sky each and everyday, no matter where we are.
The Sunrise meditation was so beautiful that we continued to host it monthly in July and August. We will see if we can throw once more before Autumn fully sinks in.
Watching Shooting Stars
Another plan that emerged from the workshop was to drive out of the city and observe a meteor shower. The famous prolific Perseids visit annually over Germany. Why not missing the opportunity? We rented a van for 9 people, did research on the less light polluted spots around Berlin Brandenburg, and drove into the dark in the fully packed car.
In order to praise the Sun at most, we need to praise darkness, too! The destination was Wolfslake, where corn fields stretched through the region. After a few times of trial and error to find the spot, we parked our van, spread the picnic sheets and blankets on a flat land, and lay on the Earth. Surprisingly the sky wasn’t pitch black but slightly smoky due to city lights from afar. Besides, it was a cloudy night. We were half unsure, half hopeful to see shooting stars.
At the end, we were laying on the ground until half past 2 because we were just captivated with movements and shapes of clouds and miraculous visibility of many shooting stars! We got luck indeed. It was a chilly yet heartwarming time spent together as if we had been small kids, chatting, giggling, looking above the dark sky, and purely excited when the shooting stars passed by our eyes.