Did you feel that drastic change on Friday? You know, at exactly 12:04 a.m.
That is when the Northern Hemisphere came closest to the sun. I was probably long since asleep, like most of you.
It was also the day when you are likely to have realized that the vacation that you have planned for the summer isn’t going to reserve itself, or ask for the days off work.
There are plenty of places you can travel to, of course. There are the usual destinations - Disney World, Wisconsin Dells, Great America, the Smokeys, and even the Grand Canyon.
I would argue for Gettysburg, but it turns out that there is a little commemoration going on their this year, the 150th anniversary commemoration of the battle will starting next Monday and continue through the July 4th holiday.
If you get a chance, after the rush is over, check out the battlefield; it is only a one-day drive.
Come to think of it, summer solstice also involves other things besides travel; it involves planting season in this part of the world. There are those great vegetables that pop up out of the ground after a spring and early summer of tending, watering and nurturing the seeds that were planted much earlier in the year.
This year, joining the wonderful markets in Highland and Munster, Griffith has opened its own Farmers Market, open from 3 to 8 p.m. Fridays. Summer is the best time to take advantage of locally grown fruits and vegetables. That means that the food that you are picking up has not been transported from California, Arizona or Florida; or places much farther away, like Chile or Argentina.
Summer is also festival time, and just around the corner are the Fourth of July festivals and parades, but you don’t have to wait that long. Highland Little League will host a fundraiser Wednesday at Markley Park in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The games begin at 5:30 p.m. with two Highland teams facing off against Morris baseball.
The event will feature the 10 and Under as well as 11 and Under Highland Heaters in addition to other fun and games. There will be activities for the whole family, as well as food.
This past week, with the wonderful weather and reports of an imminent heat wave, I took stock of the other summer rituals, one last look around the yard before the heat devours the lawn, turns the flowers to dust and ramps up the water bill, in a desperate attempt at one more day of pretty flowers and green grass.
The last few weeks have brought some intense fires to the area, and even more intense fires out west. This is the time of year that fireworks are going off in bunches. Those of you who light fireworks, please remember that it will get drier as the weeks unfold, so be careful not to light them too close to your neighbors' burnt grass or even drier roof.
Soon, we will look back wistfully on June 21 as the longest day of the year, with each successive day getting just a little shorter. Hopefully, we will have spent that time wisely, with friends, family and good weather to enjoy.