twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
It has been a long time since I've written a Friendship research letter to Princess Celestia. Research in that respect has been replaced by sporadic practical applications. What Friendship lesson can I draw from the success of our Ponyville Summer Sun Celebration? That when many friends work together in harmony, the fruit of their labor can be better than they ever imagined.

So I asked Spike to pick up a scroll and ink, just like old times.

Dear Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, this year's Summer Sun Celebration party in Ponyville was like no other that I've seen. While your royal presences were absent, your spirits were in the hearts of everypony in Ponyville. The pre-sunrise party lasted all night and was crowned with a procession of glitter and lights designed by Rarity and inspired by the Crystal Empire festivities. Fluttershy orchestrated thousands of fireflies for the procession and dozens of birds for the dawn chorus. We had the night sky, the lights from the Crystal Empire, the lowering of the moon and raising of the sun, all while everypony in Ponyville was gathered in an open field. It was magic.

Many hooves worked and stamped as one to make this the best Summer Sun Celebration in Ponyville ever. The lesson that I learned right there and then was that when many friends work together in harmony, the fruit of their labor can be better than they ever imagined.

Your faithful student, now and always,

Twilight Sparkle
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The party was fun. I spent the whole time there with my friends. I danced for a while, and tripped over my wings a few times. Those wings still have a mind of their own. At least they don't throw my covers halfway across the room that often anymore. I think I tripped a fair number of ponies too.

Pinkie Pie was often zipping off to organize a game, like pin the tail on the pony, or to tell a joke, or to juggle cream pies, or to drop a thousand balloons into the room. Applejack had her hooves full keeping the refreshments coming, and no she didn't want any help. Fluttershy stepped out a few times to make sure the fireflies didn't wander off. Her dawn chorus birds were sleeping in the bushes around a hill in the west pasture. Rarity was wearing a summer dress sequined in a starburst pattern and she had on a large plumed hat. Spike was playing all the games and Dash was playing pranks on Pinkie and Mayor Mare. That joy buzzer earned her a bucket of ice water over the head, courtesy of the Mayor.

Before the morning twilight, while the stars were still shining brightly in the night sky, Mayor Mare cut the music to announce the parade! That was Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash's cues. Rainbow dashed off with a few other pegasi to collect and shape the clouds they'd parked by the west pasture and Fluttershy went out to rally her flashing fleet of lightning bugs. Rarity, Spike and Pinkie set to moving the lanterns and streamers to the door, ready to be distributed by me and Applejack.

Mayor Mare explained that we were all to follow her lead. She was going to trot all around town, and we were to try and match her gait pattern, the clip-clopping of our hooves in the streets ringing as one! Now that's a fun game. She pointed out that Applejack and I were handing out lanterns and streamers to ponies to carry, and as a bonus, there were little silver bells and chimes on the lanterns and streamers, to compliment the fancy hoofstepping. She told us remember to look up, and as a final surprise, we were heading to a choice location to watch the sun rise. There was much hoof stomping. Everypony was champing at the bit to get going.

Rarity, Spike and Pinkie Pie slipped out ahead (Pinkie knew the route to be taken), Mayor Mare got to the door, and out, and the trot about town began. I calculated that with what we had, every fifth pony should get a lantern or a streamer. That went pretty smoothly. There were a few ponies that didn't want to carry anything and a few that really, really wanted to be a lantern or streamer bearer. I had to relight a few candles that had gone out. Finally, everypony was off and trotting and we followed.

The Mayor was having a grand time putting us to the test. Not just trotting, but stomping and tap dancing, fast and slow. As we went along, ponies that had stayed home or were at other parties joined the procession and joined in the drumming of the hooves. Pinkie was pulling out more lanterns and streamers from where she'd hid them and Applejack and I helped distribute them among the new ponies and I helped Spike light the candles. Meanwhile, a river of fireflies followed us overhead. It was amazing.

As the twilight grew near, Mayor Mare left the edge of town and trotted zigzags and loops through the western pasture and then spiraled up the biggest hill in the field. The lightning bugs were matching us every step of the way, the sky was growing lighter, and suddenly I felt waves of hope and love in the air. Everypony stopped and stared. From the north, giant streams of colored light were spreading south. The Crystal Empire. The crystal ponies, like us, were celebrating.

"Look east, everypony!" called out the mayor. There, bookending Ponyville in the distance were the Royal Pony Sisters carved in clouds. Rainbow Dash landed next to me, pleased as punch. The cloud sculptures began to turn pink, then salmon. To the west, the moon set. Then, straight over Ponyville, the sun rose. In the hush, Fluttershy's special dawn chorus sang from all around. Everypony cheered.

We were a lot of excited ponies, full of hope and love, in a wide, rolling field, with dozens of very sparkly streamers clenched in our teeth. There was pronking and galloping and prancing, the ponies with the streamers became impromptu leaders of small processions, running patterns. It was dazzling, like a thousand stars in the early dawn light. After a while the leaders took off toward town and headed back to the Town Hall where Applejack's crew was spreading a delicious Summer Sun Celebration breakfast for everypony.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
It's the night before the Summer Sun sunrise and the celebration has started! I have to gallop off to the Town Hall to where most of the ponies are partying. Pinkie wanted me to be greeter at the door, seeing as I'm the local princess. Applejack thought that made sense, I could see the gears beginning to turn in Rarity's head and Fluttershy looked conflicted. I threw cold water on that idea. That's Mayor Mare's strength and this party is as much her doing as it is Pinkie's. Not only do I not want to steal her thunder, but if I shake everypony's hooves, all six of us will have to do the same. We're a team. And this is not our party, it's to celebrate the Royal Pony Sisters.

Luckily for me, nopony else was keen to spend the night shaking hooves. At least not that kind of shaking.

It's going to shaking, pronking and rolling at City Hall! DJ Pon3 is spinning her records, Rarity and Pinkie incorporated the paper lanterns and the bejeweled streamers into the festive decor, and Fluttershy's myriad of lightning bugs are blinking like mad on the outer walls of the building.

I'm going to catch up with my friends there. Maybe I can organize the overnight treat tables! Or maybe if a bring a lexicon and my Piaffle game I could interest some ponies in a game? Um, probably not. I'm sure Pinkie's got the party games covered. I'd better just go.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Preparations for Summer Sun Celebration are picking up steam. Lots of decorations are going up following that drenching rain we got and the parade has been announced in the Ponyville Express. Pinkie has several ponies making the paper lanterns and the poles to carry them with. The candles were easy enough to find.

Pinkie and the Mayor have planned out the parade route and Pinkie is going to stash lanterns and Rarity's streamers all along the way. That way, as the parade grows, she can keep supplying ponies with more lanterns and streamers.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
We caught the early train to Canterlot and arrived in time for an early lunch. We hoofed it to a café, ate and set off to the garment district where we found a few shops dealing in bolts of cloth. We got a rainbow assortment and we had so many that we hired a cab to lug it all back to the train station. It's a lot harder to find a cab in Canterlot than it is in Manehattan. Ponies are just more used to trotting and strolling leisurely in Canterlot.

I left Spike to guard our cloth horde while I went back to a shop selling scientific glassware and optical equipment. They had telescopes. Many telescopes. Mirrored telescopes. Glass lens telescopes. Combinations of reflective and refractive telescopes. Tracking telescopes. Telescopes with oculars that can be swapped for a photographic plate or a projector. They also had a book on telescopes. I bought that.

Back at the train station, I took over guard duty while Spike ran off to buy a snack. We caught the afternoon train back to Ponyville, arriving just before moon rise. It isn't too far to the Carrousel Boutique from the train station. I managed to levitate all the cloth, and carry a sleeping Spike, and take it to Rarity.

I have lots of room on my Treecastle balcony. Maybe I'll get a nice fat mirrored telescope. But a small refractive telescope is fast and versatile! Hmph.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Rarity had little difficulty convincing Mayor Mare and Pinkie to include her idea of a parade of lights. Usually ponies just step out of their houses or where they're having their all-night parties and watch the sun rise from the streets. With the parade, we can all end up together in a good spot, like a hill top, and watch the sun rise from there.

That was Rarity's opening argument, parading through town, picking up more ponies on the way, and ending up somewhere with a view. Probably the west pasture. There are some nice big rolling hills there. She brought some samples to show what she had in mind: wide gossamer cloth streamers glistening like dewy leaves, magicked to float like the air; colorful paper lanterns, some transparent, suspended on sticks and lit by candles. What she didn't have on hoof, but she hopes Fluttershy can pull off, is to have hundreds of fireflies to fly above the procession and follow it. Fluttershy is already having rehearsals with her special dawn chorus flock of birds. A hilltop destination would work out well with that too.

I saw Rarity's sample streamer. It's really beautiful. She and Spike spent all afternoon today digging up gems and tomorrow, while she's breaking and polishing the stones, I'm going to Canterlot with Spike to pick up enough gossamer cloth for her project.

Fluttershy was out after dark, rounding up and talking to fireflies. Spike was exhausted and went to sleep early.

Canterlot tomorrow! I wonder if I'll have time to take a peek at telescopes!
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
On the ride back to Ponyville on the train, Rarity was hatching a plan to have a Ponyville version of the Crystal Empire parade in the wee hours before the Summer Sun Celebration sunrise. It involves streamers, paper lanterns and fireflies. She'll have to run it by the mayor and Pinkie for approval.

In the late evening the weather ponies sent us a real drencher! The clouds just poured down pounding torrents of water! It was quite exciting! Spike called me to the balcony to watch. It was totally worth putting down a book for a few minutes to go look. The heavy, sudden rainfall was there to flush out the streams and drainage ditches. It beats cleaning them by hoof. Then the pegasi mostly cleared the sky and dropped in a few rainbows. Everything looks sparkling clean in the bright sunshine now, all set to get decorated for Summer Sun.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
We're back from Crystal Empire and I have a fresh load of books from Cadence and a few borrowed from library. That library, so big, so full of books! Floors and floors of bookcases full of books! The librarian found several illustrated manuscripts for Rarity detailing exotic Crystal Pony fashion as well as scrolls with dressmaking patterns. Rarity looked like she was rolling in clover. Meanwhile Applejack canvassed the Crystal Empire shops, picking up crystal berries and corn, and finding new clients for her apples and apple-based confections. She even joined us at the library to look up recipes and to jot some down.

Cadence and Shining found rooms for us in the castle. We didn't have to sleep in the street or sleep three in the same bed. I did get chided for not giving them more advance notice. Ha ha, ah well, sometimes I'm not as organized as I could be.

Cadence and Shining Armor invited us to dinner. I almost missed it, the librarian let me stay late and I lost track of the time. Applejack came back to get me. Rarity wore an 'evening hat' to dinner that trailed colored streamers down to her withers. She said it was all the rage over a thousand years ago in the Crystal Empire. That's a bit vague since _all_ the Crystal Empire fashions date back to over a thousand years ago. She did attract some odd looks from the older crystal ponies serving us.

This Summer Sun Celebration in the Crystal Empire promises to be extra festive. Princess Cadence has been studying Crystal Empire traditions and now that the ponies have most of their memories back, she has been pumping them for ideas. It's going to be a big bash, sure to light up the night sky all over Equestria. A gala, dancing, midnight candle-lit parades, extravagant costumes. Rarity's eyes were as wide as saucers. She looked very tempted to skip Ponyville's Celebration and go back to the Crystal Empire to see this. Maybe next year.

Cadence has been picking up books here and there for me. She's put the word out that she has a taker for any old books that ponies might not want any more and she has been given several dozen. It's an eclectic mix. Children's story books, reference books, journals, cook books (Applejack has already borrowed those from me), travel guides... Almost all of them are over a thousand years old, like the Crystal Ponies that had owned them. It's fascinating!

Time to hit the hay! It's been an exciting, but tiring, couple of days.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Another Summer Sun Celebration is coming soon. This year Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are going to Fillydelphia to be feted. Princess Cadence is staying in the Crystal Empire, and I am staying here in Ponyville. My best friends are here, so that suits me fine. Getting anchored to this Tree-Chest-Castle, as Pinkie puts it, does have an up side.

Every town in Equestria is set to party all night until the sun is raised on Summer Sun Celebration day, regardless if they're in the crowd watching Princess Luna lower the moon and Princess Celestia raise the sun. Ponyville is no different. Pinkie will be off to the races with the planning and execution, but everypony will be lending a hoof. It's tradition. Fluttershy is orchestrating her birds for a special dawn chorus. There will be food and banners and glitter and clouds in the shape of the Royal Pony Sisters placed 'just so'...

There's tradition, but with Princess Luna back, should there be a stargazing event included? If so, should the name be changed to... Summer Sun and Moon Celebration? Or better yet: Summer Sky Celebration? Or maybe have two events six months apart. A Summer Sun Celebration and a Winter Moon Festival? Winter Moon, right after the Running of the Leaves, kicking off three months of ease and holidays. That could work.


twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Twilight Sparkle

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