June 21, the Summer Solstice, is a bittersweet day for me. While I look forward to the hot days and cool nights so typical of our Edmonton weather, there is also a reminder that, from that date, the days start to get shorter. That’s another thing I like about our latitude here – the extra long days. The sunrise on June 21 is 5:04 a.m. and sunset at 10:07 p.m. – that’s 17 hours of daylight! It gives me extra time and motivation to putter around in the garden or go for extra long walks with my dog.
I also want to acknowledge that our Muslim neighbours have to fast longer during Ramadan at this time of the year, as they cannot eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. Since one outcome of the fast is to remind people about others who are less fortunate in the world and who have irregular access to food and water, I’m guessing the point was felt keenly on the Solstice.
Another thing I like about our summers is that the additional time spent outside gives us more opportunity to chat with our neighbours. The more we know about each other, the more we can appreciate all the different ways of thinking of which people are capable. Some people are mainly reactive, while others are proactive. The people who are proactive, who consciously plan their outcomes and make choices in a logical manner, usually have an easier time of it. I’ve watched people filled with anger and resentment who are still reacting to things that happened years ago, and who remain mired in the past without a plan to move forward. When you converse over the fence you can get a really good understanding of how these friends and acquaintances got to be who and where they are.
Even at the dog park the conversations grow longer and we learn more about each other. Sometimes (well, okay, a lot of the time) the conversation subject is our beloved pooches. Special diet, herbs and medicine, training tips – all for the betterment of our dogs. We decide it’s not safe for our dogs to swim in the fast current. We oddly resemble the elderly who spend a lot of time talking about their own health and safety.
This summer, I plan to budget a little for some food truck fare. I like the adventure and serendipity of savouring the weird and wonderful concoctions that these chefs create. I also sympathize with running a business that has a short busy season, so I like to support them as much as my limited budget will allow. Definitely a First World problem.
By the time you read this, I hope the water level at the river is down so as to be able enjoy the water. Let’s all try to find a little bit of adventure this summer. Stay safe but have some fun.
Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.