Summer arrived at 7:59 pm last night on the east coast of the U.S. Not a moment too soon. The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year, a bright moment when the sun hangs highest in the sky, the tipping point before the long inevitable slide toward the dark days of winter. At the moment of the solstice all things are possible, the bright skies offering radiant potential for what is fresh, new, reinvigorated.
Winter seemed unusually long this year. Perhaps it was the endless presidential primary season. Or perhaps it was the dull throbbing ache of a war that has gone on too long, still grinding away while it consumes too many lives. Maybe our wintry moods deepened with the realization that the economic crisis is real, that something is spinning well beyond rational control when we have to choose between gas and groceries; when neighbors lose their homes in some maelstrom of skulduggery by someone, but we can’t even discern the villains from the victims. Fitting codas to a winter that went on far too long: floods washing away livelihoods and towns along the Mississippi; the sad goodbye rituals for Tim Russert; Tiger limping off the greens, bespeaking the plain fact that biology’s aging cycle eventually claims even the best among us.
The bright skies of the summer solstice turn our attention to the opportunities ahead. Vacation comes most often in the summer for a very good reason; sunlight brightens moods as well, and time spent lounging on decks and beaches and lakes and pools is not just empty sloth. We are soaking up the sun to store-up the energy and radiance for the long days ahead, the days that start sliding toward darkness all too soon. My friends know that while I love to work, and do it with gusto, I also love my vacation, and I do that with gusto as well. I also urge all of my colleagues here at Trinity to plan good vacations, so that everyone can get those batteries recharged well for the hard work that awaits in the new academic year.
This time next week, I’ll be paddling my favorite coves on Long Lake and the Raquette River, the Saranacs and other lakes and streams in the Adirondacks. In this blog space, watch for a new series of the Adirondack Chronicles, my tales from the north woods.