By Debbie Burke
Welcome to summer and the longest day of the year…at least in the Northern Hemisphere.
To readers in the Southern Hemisphere, sorry, this is your shortest day but, from now on, the days will grow longer, honest.
To folks who live in the far north, summer solstice is especially appreciated after long, dark winter days. Today, at my Montana home, latitude 48 north, the sun rises at 5:37 a.m. and sets at 9:41 p.m. But dawn can be seen coming for almost an hour before then and twilight lingers until around 11 p.m.
At latitude 64.8 north, Fairbanks, Alaska enjoys almost 24 hours of sun today. Here’s time-lapse video:
For TKZ’s crime dogs who are also star-gazers, five planets—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn—are currently lined up across the sky like train cars with the moon as the caboose. According to Space.com, the last time this type of alignment occurred was March 5, 1864.
The Farmer’s Almanac offers these tidbits from history and how different cultures celebrated summer solstice.
In Ancient Egypt, the summer solstice coincided with the rising of the Nile River. As it was crucial to predict this annual flooding, the Egyptian New Year began at this important solstice.
In centuries past, the Irish would cut hazel branches on solstice eve to be used in searching for gold, water, and precious jewels.
Here’s a fun quiz about the summer solstice, also from the Farmers Almanac. Feel free to share your score in the comment section.
In the early 1960s, archeoastronomer Gerald Hawkins was the first to theorize that Stonehenge (built somewhere between 2950 – 1600 B.C.) was a giant astronomical calendar that tracked movements of the sun and moon. According to Wikipedia:
He fed the positions of standing stones and other features at Stonehenge into an early IBM 7090 computer and used the mainframe to model sun and moon movements. In his 1965 book, Stonehenge Decoded, Hawkins argued that the various features at the monument were arranged in such a way as to predict a variety of astronomical events.
From the center, the observer can see the summer solstice sun rising and setting in exact alignment between the monolithic stones.
While rabbit-holing, I ran across a site called Spiritual Gangster, which sounded appropriate for crime writers and readers. Here’s an excerpt about setting summer intentions:
The Summer solstice is an energetically charged day and an important one to set intentions. Direct your intentions on the themes of this phase, which are patience, nourishment and trust. Create powerful “I am” statements that reflect these qualities and the development of them. Include “reception” statements that open you up to receiving the energies available on this day. Examples are; “I am open to receiving nourishment and growth” or “I am able to receive the energy needed to develop trust in my life.” Set your intentions and continually remind yourself of them all summer long.
The longest day of the year is a good opportunity to review New Year’s resolutions you may have made in January and assess how well you’ve achieved them (or not!).
Remember that solemn vow to write XXX words or pages each day?
Or submit to XX agents?
Or organize your writing space?
Or finish that #%&$ manuscript languishing on your hard drive?
Or send your First Page to TKZ for critique? Here, I’ll make it easy for you with this link. We’re waiting—don’t make us come and get it!
Who cares if you didn’t check off resolutions in the first half of 2022? You still have six months to nail goals you want to accomplish.
June 21 is the longest day of the year. Grab your hazel branch, set a bonfire, and dance like a Druid. Make the most of that additional daylight and score some extra words.
TKZers: Do you take stock of your writing/reading goals at the year’s midpoint? How are you doing?
Do you celebrate the first day of summer? Favorite activities and traditions?