So, the summer solstice is upon us. Tomorrow, Tuesday June 21st, is the longest day of the year. The one with the most hours of sunlight. The biggest, baddest, brightest, most blazingest day in the calendar.
In my neck of the woods of upstate NY, the sky starts lightening around 4:30am. And the sun doesn't go down till hours and hours later, around 9pm.
And then, beginning the very next day, the days will start to grow shorter. Ever so slowly at first -- there will be one less second of daylight on Wednesday than on Tuesday -- then building momentum up on through the fall equinox in September.
After the equinox the pace of darkening slows down but it still gets darker, darker, darker, until the winter solstice in December. And so on and forever. Till that day billions of years from now when the sun burns out I guess.
It’s pretty interesting tracking the rising and falling amounts of sunlight through the year. Here's a nice site that can tell you such things in your region, just plug in your zipcode.
It’s a sweet time, the summer solstice. Nature’s popping everywhere -- at my house we have a huge field of wildflowers outside, and their delicious smell is constantly wafting through the windows. The rabbits and birds and squirrels and hedgehogs are all running around like crazy. Monarch butterflies flitting around the milkweed. The majestic maple -- our name for our favorite tree -- is most lush and green.
But it's bittersweet too, 'cause at the same time, the knowledge of shorter days, barely perceptible for the next few weeks -- is a reminder that the wheel is ever turning, and that the warmth and light will be coming to and end. It’s like a dance between summer at its most fertile and the gathering darkness, foreshadowing the winter. The cold, dead winter. Coming for ya.
People throughout the world will be celebrating the day. I’ll be marking the solstice by taking my morning meditation outside. Where I can concentrate on the sounds, the smells, the feel of the wind on my face, with my eyes closed. That night I’ll probably light some candles and say some words. Nothing fancy.
Do you celebrate the summer solstice?