Thursday, July 25, 2024

Summer Has Officially Arrived

Summer has officially arrived, and as if on cue, hot, steamy air moved in to our area this week, as a reminder.

The summer solstice, which this year falls on Thursday, June 20, is the longest day of the year, from a sunlight perspective at least. And for those of us who reside in the northern hemisphere of this planet, it is the kick-off to a season of fun that is highly anticipated by many each year.

The arrival of summertime coincides with the end of the school year, and the beginning of summer vacation fun for many families.

When I think of summertime, I think of canoes on tranquil lakes, the sound of a baseball game on the radio, or enjoying a cold beverage after cutting the grass. Summer is a time of exploration, but also relaxation, a time to toss a line in a river in hopes of catching a fish for dinner, or hiking through a forest taking in the aromas of pine trees and damp moss.

Summer is also the season of thunderstorms, and heatwaves, a time when the blistering heat outside is combated with conditioned air inside.

With the summer months also comes construction season in our part of the world, where it is preferable to build roads and houses after the winter snow has melted and the ground has thawed. From new homes to roads and bridges, heavy equipment and workers with hard hats and deep tans are a common sight in the summertime.

This community has seen a number of developments get off the ground in recent years, and there is much more to come as this municipality continues to grow after years of stagnation. New development can be contentious, of course, with some wanting to see our community grow and thrive, while others want to preserve the quaint, small-town atmosphere that we all love. But whether we like it or not, growth is in the forecast in this municipality, just as hot steamy days will be in the forecast for the coming weeks as the summer season gains some steam.

As I write this editorial on Tuesday morning, the oppressive heat of the past couple of days is giving way briefly to some thunderstorms. Rain is currently falling with force, and the winds are gaining strength, offering a short but welcome break from the hot, humid, and stagnant air of our first heatwave of this summer. But, likely before I finish writing this editorial, the winds will calm, the rain will cease, and the hot air will move back in, creating even more humidity with the blazing heat meeting the freshly fallen rain.

We are fortunate to reside in a waterfront community, with the Nottawasaga Bay offering us the opportunity to cool off with a dip in the water, or a chance to enjoy the sunshine on the shore with a sizzling summer read. When the summer heat arrives, I am certainly thankful that we live on the shore of a large body of water, as opposed to being landlocked with nowhere to escape the heat.

Over the weekend, I looked up the Old Farmer’s Almanac as I tend to do when the seasons are changing. When I was younger, the current Almanac could always be found on a kitchen table, ready to be consulted, while in this modern age, I simply pull it up on the internet. As is noted on the Farmer’s Almanac website, the word ‘solstice’ translates from Latin to ‘sun to stand still’.

The term ‘solstice’ comes from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). Due to Earth’s tilted axis, the Sun doesn’t rise and set at the same locations on the horizon each morning and evening; its rise and set positions move northward or southward in the sky as Earth travels around the Sun through the year. Also, the Sun’s track in the sky becomes higher or lower throughout the year. The June solstice is significant because the Sun reaches its northernmost point in the sky at this time, at which point the Sun’s path does not change for a brief period of time,” the Almanac informs.

While the sun that both heats and illuminates this planet might appear to stand still at this time of year, the same can’t be said for we humans, as when summer arrives, we tend to get moving. Whether it be taking a road trip to cottage country, or hopping on a bicycle for a summer ride, or hauling out a canoe for some time on the water, summer is a time when we tend to get outdoors, and get active – and what better location could we hope for than our own backyard?

Not all summer fun needs to involve great adventures, or boats and bicycles, as so much of the fun of summer can be found in the simple things, like spending an afternoon in the garden, or reading a book while relaxing in a hammock. Summer fun is whatever you make it, and it is whatever you enjoy, and for some of us, relaxing by a backyard fire with some friends is enough of an adventure, and it scratches that summer itch just perfectly.

Enjoy the summer that has just arrived, as it is no secret that summertime often feels far too short, particularly as summer gives way to the chilly autumn air and rain that will eventually turn to bitter cold and mountains of snow.

Whatever you are planning to get up to over the next couple of months of balmy summer weather, I hope that first and foremost you do it safely. Too often summer is the season of tragic stories of folks losing their lives while enjoying summer fun, and most often alcohol or other intoxicants that are combined with that summer fun help to create those tragedies. So play smart, enjoy those beverages in moderation, and never operate a boat or a vehicle after imbibing.

Have fun this summer, make the most of it, but be safe!


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