Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Longest Day

Sunrise at Stonehege,  NASA &, cite below.  Public domainfair use claimed.

Greetings All:

Yesterday marked the summer solstice, longest day of the year.  Due to the internet being down yesterday, this post is a day late, sorry about that.  Unlike December 21st, when we can take some comfort in the fact the days are at least getting longer, this time of year there’s no great loss in a bit less daylight as summer moves along, like lazy clouds in bright blue sky.

So what exactly is this solstice thing?  Our friends at Wikipedia offer this explanation:

"The summer solstice occurs when the tilt of a planet's semi-axis, in either the northern or the southern hemisphere, is most inclined toward the star (sun) that it orbits. Earth's maximum axial tilt toward the sun is 23° 26'. This happens twice each year, at which times the sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the north or the south pole."

Well that seems simple enough.  (Not).  Fine, I’ll take their word for it.  So (I guess) that means since we’re now tilting closest to the sun, that is why it is the longest day.

So what about the sunlight?  How’s that factor into it?  I found this little tidbit from International Business Times

"The summer solstice has the longest hours of daylight for the Northern Hemisphere, Time And Date reported. The sun, which usually rises directly in the east, rises north of east and sets north of west. This means the sun is in the sky for a longer period of time, yielding more daylight." 

One day a year, we get the most sunlight and sunlight is something we celebrate.  There is a connection to sun and life.  Without sunlight, nothing grows and eventually, everything will die.  I found this link from "" and thought it provided a nice overview of the history of the summer solstice: 

"According to the ancient Greeks, the summer solstice was the first day of the year. There were many festivals to celebrate their god of agriculture, Cronus. Even the slaves participated in these celebrations. The summer solstice also occurred one month before the Olympic games would begin."

Summer is a time for new beginnings.  Although here is Iowa it seems like, at least temperature and humility-wise, it’s been going strong for a while, the solstice marks the “official” start of summer.  Yesterday, my family and I were honored to be guests at a wedding of great friends.  Weddings are both a beginning and a promise.  The beginning is, well, the start.  The promise is that there will be no end.

Last night, as the longest day ended and sun slipped over the horizon, I thought about how great it is to have both sunlight and evening in the summer.  The kids and the dog chased lightning bugs.  A breeze kicked up, just enough to cause the wind chime to hum.  The longest day is done, yet a bunch of summer still remains.  And with summer, comes more days of warmth and fun.  While everyday is an opportunity, it’s a lot more enjoyable to embrace that new opportunity when you don’t have to shovel snow.
I’ll wrap up this post with some of Sting’s lyrics from his tune, “Brand New Day:”

"Stand up all you lovers in the world
Stand up and be counted every boy and every girl
Stand up all you lovers in the world
We're starting up a brand new day."

So here's to the longest day of the year, June 21, 2014.  Of course, for some, "The Longest Day" came 15 days early 70 years ago. 

Be well my friends,


Opening photo-

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