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Summer solstices should be savored

When it comes to seeing the brighter side of life, there’s no better occasion than the summer solstice in a temperate latitude.

Being too far north or south to be regarded as tropical usually means having the chance to experience stark differences between various times of the year. Every season can prove invigorating, each in its own way.

We have the first warm sunshine every spring; followed by the growing season milestones throughout the summer, vibrant foliage transformation in the fall, and the crisp early winter conditions that sooner or later usher in the very first snowfall.

All of that has to be framed by variations in sunlight. Those steady patterns co-exist with the daily ups and downs of every season, and always culminate in two opposite extremes that arrive every year in December and June.

One is the shortest day and longest night, a point during the holiday season when fireside warmth and brightly shining lights create a festive mood amidst mid-afternoon shadows.

The other is the longest day, the summer solstice. It’s easily one of the most under rated days found on our calendars.

It’s a day that deserves to end with a late evening on the patio, or a brisk walk just before the sunset. One possibility I remember from growing up was playing golf until we couldn’t see the ball. On the summer solstice, it was possible to continue until about 10 p.m. in order to finish one more nine-hole round.

That kind of thing makes summer solstice a milestone. Officially it marks the start of summer, not the high point after which it seems darker every day.

Instead there are many lazy, hazy and (at least a little) crazy days of summer still to be enjoyed.

There’s a similarity to graduation day, and to mottos such as a traditional choice that was selected by my Marshall High School class. According to Winston Churchill; it’s not the end, not even the beginning of the end, but maybe the end of the beginning.

When it gets to the point several months later of not having many more nice days left before winter, it’s almost the right time to begin thinking ahead to all the lighted festivities associated with each holiday season.

For now that’s still a long way off. At this point there’s still lots of time for the summer of 2019 to include at least one or two special activities, things that can help to make it a summer to remember.

For me one of those is to make it to Target Field for a Twins game. The 2019 Minnesota Twins are, to say the least, in contention for the World Series.

Earlier this spring I posted to my Facebook friends that “I saw them play, now I’m a believer” (it sounded like a good way to link pop music to a sports season). Seeing the team in person rather than just on TV will add a new dimension to the memories.

Another goal is to visit Lake Superior and go out on a boat ride. It’s been a while since I’ve done that, so it shows promise for becoming another highlight of the year.

The summer solstice has none of the panoramic holiday symbolism associated with its winter opposite. The extra sunlight alone is enough to serve as a reminder that part of having a fulfilling life involves knowing how to live.

Traffic conditions, checkout lines, time constraints, computer glitches, and everything else in the same category should be viewed as nothing more than a means to an end. They aren’t natural parts of life. They aren’t what matters.

It’s a big world. Now is a great time to see more of what’s out there.

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