It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... it was the only time of the year both of these statements could feasibly be true. Say hello to the Summer solstice, everyone, the day on which the sun reaches its northernmost latitude, and therefore appears at its highest in the sky at noon.
It's the best of times mostly because everyone else seems to think so. At a remove, I can appreciate all the good stuff - I can. The sun hardly seems to set, there's light from the wee hours till past bedtime, and as I recently found out, anyone who fancies a nice tan can have one, without having to go to the expense and the effort of a holiday in the tropics. Not that I'd mind a nice holiday. Personally, though, it's the worst of times, in purely atmospheric terms. The sun warps the pages of my pretties when I take them out to read in the garden or on a nice beach somewhere; the light is a horrifying nag, insisting that that I should be doing something more "productive" than reading or writing all day long, and well into the night; and the heat.
The heat, people. It's the worst offender.
I've always been of the mind that it's far easier to wrap yourself up in a few extra layers come the Winter chill than it is to adequately cool oneself through the height of the Summer heat. Of late, I've been sticking to virtually every surface I come into contact with: a deck chair, the post office, my own damn t-shirt. It's a singularly unpleasant sensation, the inability to escape from the dry heat or the muggy horrors of a most Summer's day. I'm finding it difficult to exist, to be frank.
Aesthetics aside, it gives me great pleasure to tell you all - if any of you need telling, that is - that today marks the height of that awfulness. From here on out till Litha next year, this is as much sun as we're going to get. Hungover Druids have officially danced around the upright rocks of Stonehenge; the longest day is begun.
Did anyone think to tell Jack Bauer? Oh... right.
Anyway. It's not over yet. Today, in fact, marks only the official beginning of the season of Summer. But you've got to look on the bright side, haven't you? Less sun means less heat and light, means - for me - more time to relax with a good book or beaver away at a blog post without worrying what else I should be doing or whether I'll be able to peel this particular shirt off at the end of the day.
So. Here's to the worst being behind us! Who'll join me for a round of hearty Summer humbugs?
Or is it just me?
Or is it just me?