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?
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