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Thursday, June 20, 2013

long day

So here we are. 

There is so much sunshine. I wake up in sunshine, no matter how early my eyes flutter open. I stay up late, past what seems to be never-ending dusk, and even the night seems less dark. It is absolutely beautiful.

And I can’t stand it.

It’s not for the reasons you’d think. It’s not that I am Pillsbury Doughboy-pale and am prone to spontaneous combustion at precisely the 16th minute of unprotected sun exposure. It’s not that I refuse to subject humanity to my wearing shorts, either.

No, I can’t stand it because all anyone can think of as the days grow longer is how soon the days will grow shorter, and every day is an implied contest wherein we all must grab, hold, and soak in the most daylight before it is spirited away. Hurry up, get in all that living, because your carefree summer is fleeting and soon it will be autumn, with all of its dark chill, and then it will be winter, where everything turns gray and dies. Did you hear that? EVERYTHING DIES. You can’t prevent December’s death with a picnic, but you should go on one anyway because it’s your last chance! Go! Now! 

Is it just me, or am I too sensitive to the obvious metaphor here?

And of course, it’s always hammered home the loudest on the day of the solstice, all at once a beginning and an end. Summer has begun, but now the days grow ever shorter. Thank you, local newscast with way too many minutes to fill. Thank you for that reminder that no one really needs to be reminded of. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love any excuse to eat ice cream, and if that’s what grabbing summer by its hot, burning horns means, then it’s certainly not my place to fight it. But it’s this constant drumbeat of impending doom - Enjoy it while you can because we are all doomed to the inevitable decay that time and cold nights bring! Have a great Summer! - that sinks my soul.

And isn’t it ironic, when you consider that it’s always the day of the summer solstice when we are urged to savor every drop of daylight, to remember that it’s when we are at our most weary, when we are absolutely spent and done, when we are running on nothing but mere fumes of patience and sanity, that we always say:

Man, it’s been a long, long day.

(And when we say it, we usually don’t mean that we’ve been enjoying ice-cold beverages and fun water sports the whole time. Silly humans, we.)

Enjoy that solstice tomorrow, kids!

Yes indeed. Welcome to me.


  1. After starting the day by lamenting the fact that June is nearly over, this essay improved my mindset considerably.

  2. One time Dexter and I decided to celebrate the solstice by getting up to watch the sunrise and then staying up to watch the sunset. I thought it might become a tradition for us or something, but it was kind of awful. Longest day ever, and not in a good way.

  3. Weirdly, the solstice was not our longest day this year, since we visited Alaska (in a fit of sheer awesomeness) and had the pleasure of trying to get a five-year-old to sleep while the sun blazed through the blackout curtains from 3:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m., or something. The sun was at its highest point at 4:30 p.m., which was freakydeaky. THOSE were long days. It's all downhill from there. The most vexing aspect for me is calling the solstice "Midsummer," because it's clearly not the middle of summer. Somebody better get out and relabel that ASAP.