I am enamored with the idea of the summer solstice. The longest day of the year. The longest period of sunlight all year long. And today was the perfect summer solstice. Super warm, bright and glowing sun, humidity not too high– the kind of day that makes you love summer like you did when you were a kid and summer meant freedom and days at the pool and popsicles and sprinklers. These days summer means sidewalk cafes and sangria, sunglasses, tank tops, swaying skirts and flip flops, barbecues, sunscreen all day everyday, smelly trash and high electricity bills, and best of all, a fantastic and long beach weekend with friends.

Technically speaking, the summer solstice is only an instant in time. An instant when the sun is at its northernmost point in the sky. The word solstice derives from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). The sun stands still. We’ve colloquially adapted the term to encompass the whole day. But, I love that it is, at heart and in reality, an instant in time. I’m especially drawn to this idea in this year where each day I’m looking for that instant in time to capture and call my self-portrait for the day.

Culturally, we’ve come to stretch this scientifically real instant into a whole magical day, and I feel that day should be full of celebration.  And a holiday! Ok, yes, I’m looking for a day off any way I can get it but who wants to work on the first day of summer?!  It should be marked with sprinklers and opened fire hydrants everywhere, and frozen, sugary food products-  so I can run through cool sprinkles of water and then have some melting, fruity flavored yumminess and not care about getting my clothes wet or my hair wet or getting my face and hands all sticky.  And we’d pretend there was no need to worry about water shortages, or conservation of water, or that my sunscreen was wearing off.

Every year, about this time (and about the time of all seasonal changes), I find myself drawn to some sort of faith or ritual to honor the changing of the seasons, and the earth and all that naturey, witchy naked tree dancing stuff. And one of these days, I tell myself I will look into Wicca more.  In the same way I tell myself that I really need to look into Buddhism more. I’m not so much for the organized religion stuff, nor am I too good about the disciplined study of anything these days, but I’m all for a set of beliefs and practices that puts one in touch with the inner self and honors the earth.

So, in that spirit, I’m going to set a few hopes and goals for this summer (other than writing goals) and one of those hopes is that making this public will help motivate Ass (mine) to get Out There.

1. Governor’s Island

2. Bike riding. Seriously want to rent a bike and spend some Saturdays riding. In any of the parks. Take your pick. Along the Hudson and Gov Island would be first picks though.

3. Want to spend the day vegging and reading? Great– grab blanket and do it at the park.

4. Walking walking walking. Exploring exploring exploring.

5. Sandy Hook beach days on weekends

6. Coney Island and check out  if any of new Luna Park rides convince me that ‘THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA.’   Hehehehe, I always enjoy a good inside joke.

7. Check out the Wednesday concert series at Madison Square Park.

8. Take your damn lunch hour and GO. OUT. SIDE.

9. More promenade and/or Brooklyn Bridge Park days, which is really an excuse for some Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory treats.

10. Hot and horrid day? The nice and cool Museum of Natural History awaits!

11. The High Line (suggested by Monica!)

Will keep adding to this list as more ideas occur to me! Suggestions welcomed!

#8 in action. Lunch Hour. Out. Side. Woohoo! Accomplished 6.23.

#5 in action: Sandy Hook Beach Day, accomplished 7.2.10

#10 in action: AMNH and the awesome blue whale!