EDITORIAL | A time for joy as days shorten

Summer will end before you know it.  - Frederick Deligne, Nice-Matin, France
Summer will end before you know it.
— image credit: Frederick Deligne, Nice-Matin, France

The summer solstice occurs Wednesday in the  Northwest, a time of celebration for some and a time of mixed elation/depression for others. It means summer has officially begun, which is joyful; but it also means the days will start getting shorter, a condition that will continue for the next six months.

Many of us prefer the winter solstice, which signifies hope. Winter begins on or around Dec. 21  but it also means the daylight seconds, and later minutes and hours, will grow steadily longer. That’s a comforting thought when it’s pitch black at 5 p.m. Dec. 23 and we’re driving through rain or sleet to start purchasing Christmas gifts. Eventually, we see the difference when suddenly the sky is bright one morning, or when we notice we’re not driving home in total darkness any more.

The summer solstice hardly causes depression, however, as almost everyone has summer fun and vacation on their mind. Who will notice that on Whidbey Island Thursday, June 20, the sun will rise at 5:11 a.m., and then on Thursday, June 21, it will rise at 5:12 a.m.? Whether walking the dog or on one’s morning jog along Cascade Avenue in Langley, it will seem exactly the same, but in fact the sun will peek over the Cascades one minute later. It’s just the start of something darker.

It’s not a difference worth noting, however, as  sunset will be stuck at 9:11 p.m. until July. It won’t be until mid August that the average person notices the days are getting shorter even as the temperatures rise. But who cares when it’s 80 degrees and the Whidbey Island Fair is about to begin?

It’s the fall equinox that brings with it thoughts of flying leaves, shorter days, the time change, Halloween and darkening skies.

In the meantime, we have summer to celebrate: The Third of July Fireworks, Maxwelton Fourth of July Parade, Choochokam, Bayview street dances, Whidbey Island Fair, Loganberry Festival and many other events.

Enjoy it all while it lasts because it won’t last forever.


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