Today is the Summer Solstice. The longest day and shortest night of the year. That means that tomorrow the day will be a tiny bit shorter, the night a tiny bit longer. Without me even being able to see it, the shift is already occurring. Somehow this turning of the wheel always leaves me feeling like I’m playing catch up.
Here in Mid-Coast Maine, the things we associate with summer are barely starting to arrive. School has just let out. The days are finally getting hot. Strawberries at the U-Pick farms are not quite ripe. Haying won’t start for weeks yet. I have yet to get my bathing suit wet at the lake, or toast a marshmallow over a campfire, or turn on the air conditioner in my bedroom. These quintessential summer things begin happening around now, but the moment is already slipping away. Tomorrow will be a little shorter. Time is moving on and the year is getting older even as I run behind wailing, “Wait, wait! I’m not ready, yet!”
I remember…and I bet you do, too…getting our of school some time in June, right about this time of year, and looking into the sunny face of a summer vacation that seemed to stretch on forever. There was so much to look forward to, so much to do. There were bikes to ride and lemonade stands to build. There were ice cream cones to eat and tree houses to lounge in. There were swimming holes to explore and hammocks to swing. Most of all, there were long, lazy days of absolutely nothing to do but lie still on the lawn feeling the grass tickle the backs of my knees, feeling the slow turning of the Earth beneath my head, and day dreaming.
Those halcyon days are long gone from my life and most of the time I don’t regret trading in my childhood for a rich and full adulthood. Most of the time I relish the challenges and triumphs of work, the satisfaction and joy of a complicated world. Most of the time. Still, there are some days I would trade it all for the cardboard box and old mattress fort my brother and I built in the cellar of our house where we could retreat on sticky nights when it was impossible to sleep upstairs. I would gladly give up project schedules and deadlines for a ride in the back of my grandfather’s old pick-up truck with half a dozen cousins up to the ice cream stand for a double scoop of butter-crunch with jimmies.
Today is one of those days. Tomorrow, the summer will start getting shorter and I haven’t even started, yet. Tomorrow, I plan on seeing many of you at our Down Town Summer Solstice celebration. Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to teaching people how to knit at our tent on Main Street. And I will enjoy the summer moments as they come. I’ll start looking for the U-Pick signs, and hang the hammock and put the swim float in the water at camp. I’ll smell the hay being cut and watch the last of the fireflies dance in our meadow. Tomorrow the days will start getting shorter and summer will take on a subtle sense of urgency. Today…I’m going to get a double scoop of ginger on a waffle cone, stop off at the quarry on the way home, have my first swim of the season and relish the moment before it slips away.
Do you want jimmies on yours?