You know when you float on your back in the lake, when your ears submerge and the noisy world is still there but all watery and subdued and far away?

I sometimes get this sort of feeling around midsummer (and without necessarily going in the lake either).

Everything slows down and the world is somehow gentler. Like everyone breathes deeply for a second… and then has some strawberry shortcake.


Today is the longest day of the year.

To give you an idea of how extreme the swinging seasonality can be where I live, I wrote this on the shortest day last winter:

Today, 21 December 2012, in Edinburgh the sun will come up at 8:42am. It will go down at 3:40pm.

According to people who know such things, I will have 6 hours, 54 minutes and 33 seconds of day.


Today, 21 June 2013, in Edinburgh the sun came up at 4:26am. It will go down again at 10:03pm.

According to the same people, I will would have had 17 hours, 36 minutes and 29 seconds of day.

While the looming winter darkness has been draining at times, I always find this excessive length of day invigorating.

[I have realised more than once that it is midnight and no matter how much energy I have I really shouldn’t be vacuuming if I want to avoid being on the pointy end of a building-wide witch hunt].

So I try to recognise and celebrate this turning of the year in small ways … often involving said strawberry shortcake, long walks and grilled meat of some variety.

solstice sunset in East Lothian

Last year, during my concerted effort that Thirty Things, I decided to carpe diem the crap out of the solstice.

At about 10pm we headed out to our favourite beach.

As we crested the grassy dune we found the place deserted even though it was hardly dusk.

solstice water through the dunes gullane beach

We unfurled a blanket, unloaded a midnight picnic and watched the sun go down over the silvery water.

We clinked plastic glasses of sparkling wine, lit a paper lantern and waved hello to the big shiny world.

It was utterly fantastic [and super romantic].

Pagan origins or no, the turning points of the year are the perfect time to turn off the normal routine and run wild. I tell ya, that hour on the beach was worth a million nights of dvd box sets.

Whatever your creed, I say seize today. Stretch into its fullness.

And celebrate (preferably with strawberry shortcake and the sea).

solstice at gullane beach

5 Responses to “Solstice”
  1. kimshay says:

    I love the freedom I feel in summer. Shed the heavy clothes, get out around people, celebrate unity, see places farther from home. I love the water. I love laying back in it floating picking out characters and objects in the clouds and watching the birds and flower growing. Summer is great. Thanks for the post–I now want to go to the pool.


  2. Love the literary imagery (I felt like I was right there on the beach with you!) and the beautiful photos. What a great tradition to start. Carpe diem!


  3. smgrady says:

    I feel all squishy at the thought of people all over the world being in this world together. We’ll send you our sunshine soon, antipodean friends!


  4. I’m winter solticing too. Celebrated a clear day by walking to work. Bracing. Carpe Diem with gloves on!


  5. Beautiful post and lovely photo at the top of it! I am experiencing the southern hemisphere’s winter solstice – mine is the in-breath to your out-breath, mine is the longest night and quiet contemplation and the spark of hope that comes with knowing tomorrow there will be just a few more seconds of daylight …… I love the feeling of being in touch in a personal way with the experiences of people from all around the world. Thank you.


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