Summer Solstice

One of the benefits of living at Latitude 43* is that we get oodles of sunlight at the peak of the Summer Solstice. Yes, we get very little light at Winter Solstice, but that's okay. Seasonality is a good thing.

Growing up in lower latitudes, the seasons I observed were two: green season (three months) and brown season (the rest of them). Streetlights coming on early were the only indication we were heading into the green season, when California deserts received the majority of their precipitation. Barely two seasons, and certainly not four.

When I moved to Madison almost 40 years ago, one of the things I fell in love with is actually having four seasons. True that Spring can sometimes last a few weeks, but at least we get crocuses before the heat withers them away.

Summer Solstice means long days. It means the mulberries are fruiting out along the bike path by my home. A thousand people a day or more pass trees that are groaning under the weight of thousands of berries. Some of them are as big as my thumb. I throw out a tarp under the branches and start whacking the branches with my canoe pole. I don’t mind that the pole has little blueish purple spots on it. When I go out poling in the winter, they remind me of mulberry syrup and jam. 

Summer Solstice means warm dogs in boats, their initial enthusiasm baked out of them as the day progresses. They jump in and cool off, jump out and dry off. Then it’s D.C. al fine.

Summer Solstice means waking up even when you would rather sleep, but since you’re up, you might as well get some time on the water, at the dog park, cycling a quick 10k around our baby Lake Wingra. It means trying to be quiet so the dog doesn’t hear you. It means failing at being quiet and the dog is waiting at the back door. She is waiting for an adventure. She knows the word adventure.

Summer Solstice means you can paddle for two or three hours after dinner. It means you can sit in the yard and play the banjo in a t-shirt and flip-flops (and shorts, obvi).

Summer Solstice means a celebration of life. Yes, it makes the start of a long, slow decline to the Winter Solstice, when I may write a different sort of essay. But for now, let’s just enjoy it before the streetlights start to come on early.

P.S. The store is literally on Latitude 43.