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This time it's the Summer Solstice, not the first day of summer!

Posted by on in Thoughts on Life and Nature
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Once again on the calendar and in people's comments everywhere, it seems, today is called the "first day of summer" --- but... why??

Summer is a climatic event that is different every year and different at every location in the world --- isn't it?  Today as Ro and I kayaked across the mighty James River (about a mile and a half over to the bluffs of Surry County, then back to Jamestown Beach --- hooray!), the weather was pleasantly warm and breezy and not too humid, more of a spring day than a summer one.  We've had a number of muggy, summery days already, even though it's been quite a cool springtime.  So why in the world should we say today is the day summer begins?

What is definitely true of today is that it's the longest day of the year and the shortest night; also, the sun's ecliptic is at 90o; also, the earth's axis is tilted closest to the sun.  (These are all related, and they create summer-like climate conditions.)  Wikipedia says this Solstice occurs "during a hemisphere's summer" --- not at the start of it.

There --- got it off my chest again.  A pet peeve... If you call it the first day of summer in my presence, I probably won't say anything, though!  Don't worry about it!

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