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    The First Day of Summer. It’s all down hill from here. Let’s Celebrate

    Where I live, at the 46th Parallel in Michigan, the sun rose this morning at 5:44.  It will set at 9:29 tonight.  We will have close to 16 hours of daylight today. It’s the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and up here, where we endure long dark winters, this is a day to celebrate.

    Tomorrow our day will shorten by 12 seconds, which means little by little the daylight hours will dwindle, until December 21, when we’ll be able to see clearly without artificial aids for only about eight hours.  The sun won’t rise until 8:09 AM on the day of the Winter Solstice and will be setting at 4:55 PM.  So up here the longest day of the year is a big deal.

    summer solstice

    My Finnish family calls this day Juhannus, St. John’s Day.  It’s the traditional day for huge bonfires (Kokko) and, for some,  long hours of drinking.  I remember many Juhannus celebrations on the pebbly shores of Lake Superior in the Copper Country, where enormous driftwood bonfires lined the beach, looking for all the world to us children like dazzling, fiery jewels.

    The grown-ups sang songs, cooked sausages, and partied far into the night.  After a couple of hours the children (that would be us) were sent back to the cabins so that they could go on celebrating the Solstice more in keeping with the pagans who had originated the event in the first place.

    Juhannus Finland

    So as of today, it’s summer here in Pure Michigan, the Midwest’s most beautiful state.  (Who sez?  I do.  I just did.  Also, Tim Allen. He does the voice-over for the sublime Pure Michigan ads.)  What some laughingly called Spring seemed to go on forever this year, so any hint of summer is sending us into paroxysms of joy.

    This was us all through the month of May and right up to the first day of summer (today): It’s 70 degrees!  We can wear short sleeves! Oh, wait. . .  No.  Never mind.  It’s gone now.

    Today up here in the northern latitudes we welcomed summer with jackets on.  Some had umbrellas.  The sun didn’t shine all day.  Tonight, if the skies were clear, we would be welcoming summer by watching a super moon rise.  We would do that if we could.  But we can’t because the clouds won’t clear.

    But it’s been a long day.  A long, long day.  There are still hours to go, and I plan on enjoying every one of them.  Because, tomorrow. . .who knows?

    Sunset at black rock point


    Cross-posted at Constant Commoner



    Happy Solstice, Mona.

    Thank you, Michael.  It's been a long day.  It's 10:30 and even with the cloud cover I can still see the light.  Ha!

    It was a great day around here yesterday.  My birthday is on the longest day of the year. It is not down hill for me it is over the hill I go.   I got a new refrigerator because the old one fell through the floor.  It was on it's last legs so to speak.  A big delivery truck or an ambulance will always draw a crowd in the trailer park. We had taken off the door and frame on the lania and the sliding glass doors out to get this black monster into the trailer.  The kids have had fun all day looking at it and in it.  It has French doors and it plays music when you leave the door open too long.  I looked for a long time and settled on a new one because it will pay for itself in energy costs.  It is really quiet compared to the ones I have had in the past.  Now the hard part replacing the kitchen.  I am already tired just from packing dishes and sorting out 40 plus years of stuff.   

    I spent a lot of time as a kid on Black Lake. For me, one of the weirdest things about living so near the equator is how early it gets dark at night--especially considering the temperature perpetually suggests to my body that it should be light until almost 10 pm. I miss those endless summer days. My consolation is that winter isn't coming for me. 

    I never thought about the short days near the equator.  But yes, your consolation is consistently warm days. And some gorgeous scenery. And a great adventure.

    But Black Lake is lovely when the black flies and skeeters aren't attacking.  (Another spring and early summer gripe:  We've had tons of rain this year compared to last.  Last year we were hardly bothered at all by black flies and mosquitos.  This year they're in abundance and they're nasty little buggers.)

    Happy Solstice Ramona!

    I usually get into this celebration and I missed it this year.

    Yeah, up here in Minnesota I am a day late and a dollar short in publishing:

    Sunrise 5:12 AM (CDT)

    Sunset  21:08 PM (CDT)

    Close to 16 hours of sunlight.

    All this in a zone where we barely see 8 hours of sunlight by the end of December.

    Yes, Richard, I should have made a point of wishing you the same.  We're really up there, aren't we?  Love the long summer days but those winter "days" seem more like minutes.

    Willie's great.  Thanks.

    Nice essay.

    Are you ready for a solstice bonus?

    Solstice Supermoon Fills Sky This Weekend | On June 23, the moon will be at its closest distance to Earth for 2013 while in its full phase. As a result, it will appear 8 percent larger and 17 percent brighter than usual—an event widely known as a supermoon. And making it a bit more special, thanks to coincidental timing, this supermoon will be coming on the heels of the June solstice, which takes place only two days before.

    Yes, I think I mentioned it in my piece.  Looks like we won't see it here.  Cloud cover promised.  Rats!

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