June 21, 2009
The summer solstice heralds the beginning of summer. The timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. This occurs annually on June 20 or June 21 in North America, depending on your time zone. The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice). In temperate regions, we notice that the Sun is higher in the sky throughout the day, and its rays strike Earth at a more direct angle, causing the efficient warming we call summer. In the winter, just the opposite occurs: The Sun is at its southernmost point and is low in the sky. Its rays hit the Northern Hemisphere at an oblique angle, creating the feeble winter sunlight.
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, England
Celebration of the summer solstice at Stonehenge has been going on from the shadows of history to the present day. I wish I could have been there a hundred years ago....
However you celebrate the longest day of the year (two people I know will be celebrating an anniversary...where's my sashimi???), enjoy being outside somewhere. Set aside your troubles, make a picnic, even if it's pb & j and lemonade, find a beautiful place to spend a few hours. This is a glorious planet we live on, especially if you turn off the television and computer to go out and enjoy it.
Sunrise on Culebra will be at 5:24 Sunday morning, just in case you want to have a breakfast picnic someplace to truly get in spirit with the day. I'm big on breakfast burritos or quiches or frittatas for breakfast picnics. You can add all of your favorite eggy/bacon/sausage things, pack it in a covered container, lay on a few folded towels to keep things warm and it's yum on the beach (or the field, or your yard). A thermos of coffee or tea and wa la. Summer Solstice on a plate.
AND DON'T FORGET!!! SUNDAY IS ALSO FATHER'S DAY!!!
(also from the Farmer's Almanac)
Like Mother's Day, Father's Day has a modern origin. The idea came to Mrs. John Dodd as she sat listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1910. Her father, William Smart, had raised his children alone on his Washington farm after his wife died giving birth to their sixth child. Mrs. Dodd proposed to the Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA that they celebrate a "father's day" on June 5, her father's birthday. The idea received strong support, but the good ministers of Spokane asked that the day be changed to give them extra time to prepare sermons on the unexplored subject of fathers. The first Father's Day was observed on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington, and soon other towns had their own celebrations. In spite of widespread support, Father's Day did not become a permanent national holiday until 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed a law declaring that it be celebrated annually on the third Sunday in June.