Spring temperatures have offered their seasonal moderation and Ole Man Winter has long since packed his bags en route for another locale; at least, for the next few months.
Truth be told, a few of our daytime highs over the past month might have fooled some into believing the season of long, long days and short, short nights had already arrived. Yet, not so according to our calendars.
Not until today.
Let none keep it a secret. The Summer Solstice has arrived. Today, as of 1:16 p.m., marks the first official day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere! And yes, this includes our Cleveland and Bradley County community.
For those with a keen interest in the scientific, meteorological explanation, it can be found here compliments of the National Geographic Daily News:
“The summer solstice is a result of the Earth's north-south axis being tilted 23.4 degrees relative to the sun. The tilt causes different amounts of sunlight to reach different regions of the planet. Today, the North Pole is tipped more toward the sun than on any other day of 2011. The opposite holds true for the Southern Hemisphere, where today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.
“As a result, at high noon on the first day of summer, the sun appears at its highest point in the sky — its most directly overhead position — in the Northern Hemisphere. That doesn't mean the sun will be exactly overhead at noon for everyone. It depends on the viewer's latitude — the sun will shine down directly overhead at noon only along the Tropic of Cancer, an imaginary line that circles the Earth at about the latitude of Cuba.
“No matter where you are in the Northern Hemisphere, the path of the sun across the sky — which rises in the lead-up to the first day of summer, then begins descending over the rest of the summer — seems not to change for the few days before and after the summer solstice. In reality, the sun's position is still changing, but at a slower rate.”
And that explains summer.
Now here’s our take.
Hallelujah! Summer’s here so let us get to the outdoors! This wonderful season of activity means something a little different to each indulger. For instance ...
For students, summer means schools have closed their doors for a couple of months so that means some well-deserved relaxation, no homework and even fewer textbooks.
For workers, summer’s long, bright days offer more hours of light, increased flexibility and a little something more than the winter ritual of going to work in the dark morning, coming home from work in the cold and dark night, preparing dinner at home, falling asleep in the recliner in front of the TV, waking up only to stagger to bed at 10 and then heading back to work the next morning.
For parents, summer brings long-awaited vacations ... a chance to travel, to enjoy quality time with the family in a distant location and to get away from the hustle, hassles, headaches and worries of everyday living.
For recreationists, summer offers muscle-building exercise, hobbies like gardening, hiking and camping, whitewater sports, daylong jaunts with friends and loved ones, afternoon shades and morning breezes.
In fairness, summer also means mowing the yard, trimming the shrubs, washing the car, pressure washing the house, tolerating some high humidity, enduring the occasional drought and watering the flowers.
Like all seasons of this splendid life, summer offers its good ... and its bad.
Our only advice is to take it in stride while finding potential in every magnificent moment.
And do it safely!