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Reflections From the Longest Day

Happy summer solstice! Last night my husband asked, “Hey, can we balance an egg tomorrow?” All egg balancing (if you want it to be successful) actually must occur on the equinoxes, which occur in the spring and the fall. Those are the days when the sun’s path crosses the equator and we have equal hours of day and night (hence the Latin word “equinox,” which translates to “equi”= equal and “nox”= night).

Reflections From the Longest DayToday we do not have equal day and night; today we have lots and lots of sunshine.

My day began as it always does, with a long, sunrise walk along the Chicago River with my bouncy mutt. The pup and I take these morning walks regardless of the weather, rain or shine. Since we live in Chicago, it’s not always the “shine” half of that combo…

My day will end somewhere new, some place I’ve never been before. I’ll watch the sunset tonight from a lake cabin up in Michigan, where I will be celebrating the coming wedding of a good friend of mine. I can’t think of a better way to fill the ample hours of sunshine.

While walking along the river this morning, feeling the gentle sunshine and the mild breeze (in the winter, we call it wind, and oh, does it feel like wind!) that skipped off the water, I started thinking about the day, and the fact that it is the solstice. I really love summer. I really love how much of the summer you can spend outdoors – hiking, swimming, cooking out, doing yoga on the beach.

But, for some reason, this day always fills me with a sort of poignant, and probably irrational, sadness. It’s the longest day of the year, yes, and I intend to make the most of our many hours of sunlight. But, for some reason, it always reminds me that, after today, the days begin to get shorter again.

I comfort myself that summer is nowhere near over – in fact, it’s only just beginning. And that we have many days ahead of us filled with warmth and sunshine and outdoor activities. And yet, somehow knowing that the days begin to constrict starting tomorrow makes me want to despair.

And then this morning I realized something important. The day itself was only just beginning, and the summer has barely even started. I needed to remind myself to stop anticipating what was ahead and to just pause. To enjoy the moment. To enjoy my dog, her tail wagging as she barked at the birds on the river. To enjoy the pink roses that budded happily from the bushes around us. To enjoy the fact that I was wearing nothing more than a T-shirt and yoga pants and yet I was sublimely comfortable in the balmy morning weather.

To be mindful and to enjoy life in this present moment. This moment will never come again, and I cannot squander it by thinking about what is coming next. All I can do is give thanks for today. To, as Paulo Coelho so beautifully wrote, “make use of every blessing that God gave you today.”

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