Posted tagged ‘Solstice’

“it’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime!”

June 21, 2018

Today is the solstice, the longest day of the year, the official start of summer, and Mother Nature has gifted us with a beautiful day, a summer day with a bit of a breeze and lots of sun.

When I was a kid, summer started when school was out for the year. It was glorious. I had two full months to do whatever I wanted, well, mostly whatever I wanted. It was actually whatever my mother let me do or whatever she didn’t know I did.

I remember going barefoot at the start of the summer and having every rock and stone hurt my feet, and I remember hopping one foot to the other on the hot pavement as it burned the soles of my feet, but it didn’t take long for my feet to harden, and I could walk anywhere and on any surface. My summer attire was always shorts and a blouse, mostly a sleeveless blouse. If I had to go anywhere, I wore sneakers, low, white Converse sneakers, with socks. The only time I wore a dress was to go to mass on Sunday.

We never had a set bedtime in the summer. I can remember sitting outside on a warm summer night. The outside light attracted all sort of bugs, and I’d watched them circle the light or bang into the screen. I used to go inside by the front door so I wouldn’t bring in the bugs.

My mother kept the living room shades down in the summer. She said the darkness kept the room cooler. Upstairs was always hot. I remember tossing and turning and trying to fall asleep.

Summer mornings are favorites of mine. The air is still cool, the birds are singing and the garden smells divine in the morning air. I love to sit on the deck with my coffee and papers. Sometimes I just sit there taking in what I can hear, smell and see. I always feel a sense of solitude, a sense of peace.

“Here’s what we know about Santa. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good. I think he’s with the NSA.”

December 22, 2016

I woke up to another dreary day and a very dark sky screaming rain. The weatherman agrees. Snow is predicted in some parts of the state, but we will be too warm, in the 40’s. Yesterday was the Solstice, the longest night of the year. By next week, we will be gaining a minute and a half of light a day then two minutes in February. That sounds so hopeful.

Christmas vacation begins today around here. I remember this last day and how excited the kids were, high school kids wearing Santa hats and sucking on candy canes. They used to sing Christmas carols at lunch, spontaneous outbursts from one table then another then on and on. The halls between classes were filled with cheer, with kids wishing each other a Merry Christmas. At the end of the day, the school emptied quickly. The festivities had begun!

I have errands today then cookie baking. I was out a long time yesterday, but I couldn’t finish my list. One store was closed so I have to go back today. I also have to go to the candy store and the grocery store. I’ll get everything I need so I won’t have to go out again between now and Christmas. (I’m laughing here. That will never happen. I’ll find out I need something else. I always do.)

The excitement started to get palpable around this time when I was a kid. The countdown was at two until Christmas Eve and three until that glorious morning, Christmas day. Every afternoon we watched Santa Claus at his workshop. I remember the channel was WMUR from New Hampshire. Santa talked to us as if he were in the room. He discussed all of the work being done by the elves to get ready to fill the sleigh. I don’t remember what he looked like, whether he had great whiskers or paltry whiskers, or if his voice was jolly. I just remember sitting on the rug and watching Santa.

We didn’t have a fireplace, but I was never in doubt that Santa would find his way to the living room and the tree. He was magical so nothing could stand in his way. I figured he just used the door, probably the front door. That the dog didn’t bark was just more of the magic. I figured Duke wagged his stubby Boxer tail and gave Santa lots of kisses.

It is when the questions appear that believing in Santa gets shaky. The how does he do it in one night is a biggy. It shows a bit of skepticism. I am five and seven years older than my sisters. I told them nothing after I found out and I even became part of the Santa conspiracy and teased them about the good or the naughty list. It was wistful for me.