Judy Isacoff: Long summer days slowly dwindle


Hold on! Hold on to the sun! In the month since the summer solstice, the northeast has been transformed.

A great, leafy uprising has spread over the land, drawn to seemingly ever-present sunlight. The green swell has been lifting for months, first in measured increments, now cresting. We are feeding ourselves from our gardens and regional farms. Spring asparagus, lettuces, snow peas, green onions, radishes have given way to voluptuous kale and early tastes of sweet corn, tomatoes, squash and garlic. The airplane is no longer intermediary between sunlit, productive, fertile fields and our food.

There's no holding on! Earth's North Pole -- and northern hemisphere -- has begun to tilt away from its maximum position in relation to the sun. After a relative pause, (solstice equals the sun stands still) momentum is behind the sun's southerly movement. From May 31 to July 13, three weeks before and three weeks after the summer solstice, there were more than 15 hours between sunrise and sunset. Beginning Friday, there will be a consistent loss of 2 minutes of sunlight every day, then 2 to 3 minutes during the months of August and September.

Savor the fullness of the long days. Day length at the beginning of the month was 15 hours, 13 minutes. At month's end, 43 minutes will have been added to nighttime. Experience the difference fully as darkness falls earlier each evening and lasts later into the morning.

Could it be that reflection on the wonder of seasonal change is stirred in us by the intensity of this phenomenal summer moment and the sense that a shift is underway? In our mind's eye, a window is opened on the colorful hills of autumn, snow and naked trees of winter, life's tender beginnings in springtime.

This week, wake up to birdsong, close to 5 a.m., and be enchanted by a crescent moon in the east with brilliant Venus and bright Mercury (below) in the east-northeast.

To contact Judy Isacoff go to: www.naturesturn.org


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