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On Place and the Tilt of the Earth

“I am summer, come to lure you away from your computer… come dance on my fresh grass, dig your toes into my beaches.” — Oriana Green

Maybe it was appropriate that today, June 21, the Summer Solstice, I awoke at 4 AM—just in time to mark the exact minute (4:13 AM CST) of the tip of the planet back towards shorter days. But let’s worry about that tomorrow, for today is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. After bouncing from Vienna to Boston to Nashville, my body isn’t quite sure which time zone it currently resides in. Yet the mind is fully rested and ready to hit the day.

By the time of the solstice it usually feels like summer has been with us awhile. This year feels different, like I’m running away from the season. Travel will do that. I spent a day at home assessing the neglected garden before flying off once again. Is that a tragedy or simply a new way of experiencing the season? The weeds seem to enjoy my absence, while the cats seem surprisingly annoyed when I packed a suitcase as soon as the laundry was done from the previous trip. Sorry felines, the world calls.

Do you wonder why we heed the call at all? Isn’t summer a chance to slow down and relax for awhile? Tell that to a farmer. Europeans know how to take a proper holiday, Americans jump right into the next thing. Which is right? It depends on what you want your life to be.

Ultimately summers, like life, are made by what we do with the time. Whether our longest day or our shortest matters little if we don’t make something of the moment. Experience begins with presence, the rest is just finding a place to land and the tilt of the earth.

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