Today, Friday, June 21, our longest day and shortest night of the year, the sun brightened our skies on the first day of astronomical summer in Earth’s Northern Hemisphere. As I write this at 5:22 in the afternoon, the sky is an amazing Carolina blue color. The sun remains strong and there is a lovely breeze. It is the kind of day one would think should be marked as extra special, crossing another threshold into the next summer of our lives.
My guess is we all got on with our schedules without a flashback to bare feet, shorts and tee shirts, even bruised knees, already brown as berries. A summer that stretched before us with ice cream cones and a pile of books from the library. Our bikes raring to go each morning waiting for the day’s adventure. In my case, the background of the days seemed full of Cubs Baseball with Jack Brickhouse providing the running commentary.
In the earliest days, there was running under the sprinkler stripped down to underwear and later a swim in the pool or even better, sitting on the sand at Lake Michigan, smothered in a mixture of baby oil and iodine, for which my skin pays the price today. All of us with our memories of family and hot days with no air conditioning, open windows at night with bugs hitting the screens. And waiting – – for the 4th of July with grand fireworks at Northwestern University’s Dyke Stadium.
I have this feeling that as we begin real summer, trying to eat enough corn on the cob and watermelon, appreciating the smell of meat sizzling on the grill, it is as important a summer as there has been in a long time. The new Rocky Mount has arrived and like new plants in the garden, it needs looking after. We have an October election that gives us a voice according to our desires. We have new businesses opening, restoration/preservation taking place. Support these places, keep your eye on meetings that you need to get to in order to plant your flag for positive change. You catch my drift.
As the evening quiets down, and the last birds swoop across the sky, and the first day of summer begins to retreat, we have much to be thankful for. The return of a lost soldier, the neighbor across the street that puts your paper on the doorstep, friends who are the wind beneath our sails, and family, for better or worse, that God arranged. And for the possibilities in our lives, especially the possibility of this new Rocky Mount on a summer solstice evening.
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