The Summer Solstice, also called “Midsummer”, is the longest day of the year. Despite the name, most people don’t think of this date as the middle of summer (especially in parts of the country like the Black Hills where it isn’t unusual to see snowfall well into May! 😮) The calendar says today is the first, official day of the warm season, though that doesn’t feel quite right either since many of us have been enjoying warm weather for a while now…
Reflecting on the Summer Solstice
Today is always a day of reflection for me…
I’ve written extensively about my struggle with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) during the winter months. I’ve also discussed how I look forward to the Winter Solstice because our waning daylight finally begins its triumphant return after the shortest day of the year. What I haven’t talked about much is the opposite extreme, the Summer Solstice, simply because, it makes me a little sad.
While I don’t struggle with SAD symptoms this time of the year, today is always a bit of a “downer” for me. Don’t get me wrong, I FULLY appreciate the more than 15 hours of sunshine we enjoy in the Northern Plains this time of year. 😎 But I will miss the sun, that bright companion that makes even the most difficult of days just a bit more cheerful.
Now that our daylight will be slowly decreasing, I won’t miss waking up at 5:30 every morning, thinking it’s time to get out of bed because it’s already light out (and our bedroom faces east). It got so troublesome I had to start wearing a sleeping mask to block out the daylight. 😝 It can also be a struggle to go to bed at a decent time when it stays light and warm out till almost 10 pm, and I need to get to sleep because my body is gonna wake me up again at 5! 😛
On this, the day of the year with the longest amount of daylight, I enjoy sitting on the back deck in the early morning, watching the sunrise, before the sounds of children playing outside and neighbors mowing their lawns takes over. The combination of the leafy and pine-needled greens that surround our backyard, combined with the cacophony of birds tweeting, complete with the dampness that starts the day, makes it almost feel like you’re in the middle of a rainforest. It’s a great time for reflecting, meditating, and/or journaling. We can’t hold on to daylight any more than we can hold the waves in place on the sand. So, we have to be fully present in each moment we are blessed with and embrace the joy to be found there.
Origins of the Summer Solstice
People who practice the Pagan religion call this day “Litha”, special ceremonies are even held at Stonehenge to commemorate the many hours of sunlight. In recent years I have developed my own little celebration. I try to get up early so that I can enjoy both the sunrise and sunset on this day. I try to spend as much time as possible experiencing every moment of today’s daylight. I want to soak up as much Vitamin D as I can, to start storing it up for the shorter days to come. 🌞
To our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, you can enjoy your “season in the sun” for a while now. Don’t get too comfortable with it though, we’re going to take it back in six months! 😎
Do you have any traditions to celebrate the longest day of the year? Tell me about them in the comments!
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