New month, new Book of Days calendar… and here is your Convivio Book of Days Calendar for June. It’s a printable PDF on standard US Letter size paper. It’s June, the month of Old Midsummer, and for this month our cover star is Queen Titania from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as illustrated by Arthur Rackham in 1908.
I have loved this Shakespeare play since I was forced to read it in college. Once I read it, I realized it wasn’t half bad and being made to read it by Dr. Pearce was maybe not so bad, either. Not long after that, I saw a production of it, outdoors at Carlin Park near the beach in Jupiter, Florida, on a nighttime stage in the balmy warmth that persists well into the night of a Florida summer. The performance was dripping with magic, assisted completely by the fact that I was seated on a blanket on the sandy ground with the stars above me; I could look ahead and see the actors or I could look up and see the stars, much like the lovers who fall asleep in the wood in the play. Dr. Pearce had this wonderful way of describing plays as worlds, and then when there were plays within plays, like there is in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, well then it was our world looking into a world looking into a world. It’s the sort of thing that begins to boggle my mind, like the Universe or the layers of an onion, and anything that makes us step back and see the Wonder-ful (another Dr. Pearceism) is a very good thing.
I encourage you to read the play this month as Old Midsummer once again approaches, or to find a production of it, or even to watch one of the many film versions. My favorite of those is the 1999 adaption by Michael Hoffman, starring Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania and Rupert Everett as Oberon. Old Midsummer is the night of St. John’s Eve, the 23rd of June, just a few days on the other side of the solstice; a night with a very long history of bonfires, feasting, storytelling, divination, magic, and revelry. It is a night to go out and experience the wonders of this world. As is most of June. Get out and enjoy it.