Thursday, June 21, 2007


Today is the summer solstice, and all week I've been wanting to do something to honour it tonight. I've been feeling so disconnected from the outside world. Twice this week I've caught sight through the little window high in our front door of the edge of a fuschia and indigo sky brilliant with sunset. Yesterday morning a woman asked me in the elevator if I'd enjoyed the cool night, and it took me ages to clue in to what she was saying. Cool night? Wha?

We've been using the central air we just got installed late last summer, and the guy who sold it to us was very clear that it wastes energy to turn it on then turn it off then back on again. He said to only turn it off if you know you've got at least a week of cool weather coming, and we haven't seen that kind of forecast. So we've kept it on and we've kept all the windows and doors closed. But I miss the bits of outside that come floating in through open windows. I'm 100% ambivalent about the a/c.

On the one hand, it's lovely to be cool and comfortable, to sleep with a sheet over us and not wake in a puddle of sweat. It's lovely to be able to sleep comfortably period. It's also great to be able to take Swee'pea out on a hot day and know that he'll be able to cool down once we get home. I love being able to drink a cuppa tea and not get all hot and bothered or cook dinner without melting.

But on the other hand, I miss all those things I associate with summer. I miss the ways that houses spill out bits of the lives of their inhabitants... well other houses still do that, but I miss contributing our own notes to the neighbourhood clamour. I felt this keenly the other day, when I went for a walk by myself in the evening. A neighbour's trumpet practice sang out to me across the house's shadow and deep green yard. Around the corner, another neighbour's spliff tickled my memory with its familiar skunky whiff.

Summer solstice. I savour the phrase in my mind's ear, the way it rolls across my silent tongue. I remember one particular summer solstice, when my parents let me stay out playing on our quiet crescent until dark. It felt so grown up, yet illicit, on the longest day of the year; I felt like I'd tricked my parents.

Since then, my dad has taken to torturing me with the reminder that after the summer solstice the days just get shorter; summer's over before it's even begun. So tonight I want to take some time to honour the longest day of the year. I just don't know how. Part of me would love a beer on a dusky patio with Sugar D or a friend, but I don't have many friends, and Swee'pea will be in bed. And the other part of me would prefer solitude, just me and the sunset (and a glass of wine), and maybe my camera.

What are you doing for summer solstice?


kgirl said...

Chris is going to a solstice party (read, the pub), and I'm taking Bee to the organic farmers market where we will gorge on strawberries and soba noodles for dinner.

How 'bout having that beer with the huz on your patio? Might not be as much fun as people-watching downtown, but at least you can have a beer.

Suz said...

I love this idea, of sitting on the porch with a beer, and will gladly hoist one in your direction! Salut!

niobe said...

after the summer solstice the days just get shorter; summer's over before it's even begun.

Sadly, this is exactly the way I think about it. Depressing, isn't it?

cinnamon gurl said...

Great idea kgirl! Somehow I hadn't really thought about that... I think the mozzies keep us out of our backyard at dusk. But now I'm going to go out and buy some citronella candles and beer.

Kyla said...

We have no choice in a/c down here. Either use it or die. Really.

I hope you have a lovely solstice.

Beck said...

We celebrate Saint John's Day/Midsummer on the weekend - rose wine, summer pudding, fairy houses AND gifts from the fairies (odd art supplies, little glass trinkets), picnics and a BBQ. We're also going strawberry picking and normally I make all of that supper just strawberry desserts - strawberry shortcake, straberry pie, you name it.

NotSoSage said...

I love this day and the week has been so busy that I almost forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me.

We'll be going to the market, too.

I always want to be up north, in my mom's hometown on this day, where the rays of light as the sun sets appear on one horizon at the exact time that the rays of light from the sun rising appear on the other. It's spectacular.

I love how vivid this post is, and you've explained so much about why I hate A/C.

bubandpie said...

Are you sure that's true about turning off the A/C? Would that really be the case if you're doing it on a cool evening and not allowing the house to heat up? It sounds like that myth about keeping your computers running 24/7 - turns out that doesn't actually use less energy that restarting.

My air conditioning died Sunday night - just before the cool air came in. So now I keep putting off the inevitable phone call to get it repaired (please, not replaced!).

The solstice is all good, though. I have high hopes that within a few weeks Bub will be sleeping past 6 am again.

Oh, The Joys said...

Gah! My husband is coming home late, late, late and leaving me ALONE with the short people. Some celebration!

Bon said...

we were eating popcorn and watching old Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes BBC productions. 'cause, you know, we're down with our bad selves.

i woke up this morning - sadly at 5:15 - realizing that it was the longest day of the year, and thinking really i hadn't needed to start it quite so early. and it occurred to me exactly what your dad the days grow shorter. through the summer. that seems so weird. i think my conceptions of the seasons and their purposes really need some adjustment.

Christine said...

I got to go out to dinner and drinks with the hubs. We first fell in love at a solstice party. I'll come by and share a beer with you later, ok?

flutter said...

oof. Summer here makes me cringe. 117 is harsh on a delicate flower such as me (heh)