The season of summer started today at 6:28 AM. The Earth tilted on its axis towards the sun at the maximum of 23° 26', which means that today has the longest period of daylight for the year. The Summer Solstice is actually just an instant in time--the exact moment the maximum tilt is reached--but I found out it's possible to celebrate it all day long.
It was bright and sunny when my alarm went off this morning, but an hour later clouds had rolled in. That wasn't a bad thing; it was only moderately hot when I went out to fill the bird feeder. I admired the colorful plants in the back yard: a swath of orange day lilies under the deck, and the combination of red bee balm, pink yarrow, and purple coneflowers mingling together in a bed next to our neighbor's fence, accented by the chartreuse of the creeping jenny groundcover.
By mid-morning, about the time I got to work, the sun was back in force. The combination of heat and humidity made it feel like a a huge sauna. After lunch and quiet time my preschool class lines up and goes outside. They were actually excited to go. The adults were counting the minutes until we could return to the air conditioned building, but none of the kids complained about playing outside.
Later in the day, after I had moved over to the Extended Day program, the electricity went out in the building, and it quickly began to heat up. Fortunately, I got to leave a half hour later, and I was grateful that the air conditioner in my car works quickly.
Many cultures, both ancient and modern, have ceremonies to mark the summer solstice. Most involve outdoor activities...bonfires, festivals, and dancing. However, because of the hot weather (at 6:00 the temperature was still 95°) I chose to celebrate inside. For dinner I concentrated on using ingredients that are synonymous with summer. We had a soup that included fresh corn, diced tomatoes, the first green pepper from the garden, and basil from the pot on the deck. I washed my meal down with a big glass of iced tea, and later in the evening I treated myself to a snack of frozen watermelon cubes. They were cold and refreshing, a great way to celebrate the day.
What's a celebration without music? Check out the '80s clothes and hairstyles on this one: