Gvido had been looking out for Jānis ever since he was a boy, when his grandfather Ludvigs had told him about the little god who appeared on the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, when the light of the sun and the magic of the world were at their strongest.
On summer solstice
Jānis dances amongst the flora
Blessing earth with light
In the days leading up to the summer solstice, Gvido and everybody in his village would make laurel wreathes and other decorations; leaves and berries for the boys and men, and leaves and flowers for the girls and women. As was traditional, fires were lit in every home and a bonfire lit at the centre of the village; these were kept alive from sunrise to sunset as a symbol of the life magic, for fertility and prosperity.
Bud and leaf entwine
Adorn heads and homes with vine
Life’s fire kept alive
They would drink and eat and laugh, dancing and singing songs of earth and sky and water, of light and magic and of the land coming to life. The youthful would leap over the fire like deer, joyful shouts and cheers soaring with hearts and minds as the elders looked on, wistful smiles in their lips and a gleam in their eyes.
Leaping over flames
Spirits soar and dance with fire
Light of life fills hearts
Years later, when Gvido was no longer a boy but was a grandfather and the village was now a small town, he paused at a garden set on a plinth beside the town hall to catch his breath, giddy from the dancing and celebrations. As he stood with his hands on his knees, he heard music as of a distant flute, and he hunched over and peered at the shrubbery and flowers, staring at the shadows under the leaves. To his surprise, there as a little naked man skipping about, playing one of the old tunes that had been sung that day.
On summer solstice
Dancing amidst the flowers
There Jānis does play