Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Solstice: The Long, Busy Days of Summer

I woke N. up this morning saying: "Rise and shine, sleepy head! Today is the longest day of the year!"
He replied: "All days are the same length. Twenty-four hours." And buried his head under the pillow.
I said: "I mean, today is the longest daylight of the year. It's the..."

"...summer solstice," N. responded. "Yep." And he winked at me. "I may rise, but I refuse to shine!"

Do you get the sense that he is playing with our expectation of his 'Aspie" literalism? I do.
That's definitely progress. He is beginning to understand irony.

Here is a picture of the sunrise from our front porch today. Not only did the sun rise to the farthest north that it will for the whole year--but it is sure rising early. I got this picture at about 6:15 AM MDT.

The summer solstice is the beginning of astronomical summer in the nothern hemisphere in the modern calendar. It is the time when the sun shines directly on the Tropic of Cancer at noon and the time of maximum insolation of the northern hemispere. This is because the northern hemispere is tilted toward the sun at this point in our yearly revolution around our star, Sol.
To the right is a picture of the sunrise on the Vernal Equinox, three months ago. You can see from the position of Henry the truck that the location of the sunrise has appeared to move quite a distance since then.

In the old calendar, the summer solstice was Midsummer, an occasion for celebrations of fruitfulness. Weddings were common around the time of the solstice. This is the time of when the goddess was worshipped in her aspect of motherhood and fecundity. When Christianity came to Europe, the solstice became St. John's Mass. There is no Jewish holy day associated with the summer solstice since we have a lunar calendar. So we mark the solstice and celebrate the joy of summer, but it is not a holiday for us.

The long days of summer have traditionally been a busy time for human beings. We tend to sleep for fewer hours and there is light for many more hours in order to get work done.

We have been in the grand tradition this week!On Monday, we had a BSA Court of Honor for N.'s troop to attend. N. got his Totin' Chip for the use of knives, axes, and saws. Here he is, getting his award!

On Tuesday, I had to get the master suite and the guest suite ready for recarpeting.

Bruce and I then stayed overnight at our synagogue as volunteers for Interfaith Hospitality Network.

And yesterday, we had the master suite and the guest suite recarpeted. It was a long day, even though we had the 'carpet guys' come out to do the work. It was long because we couldn't really do the things we normally do, spreading all over the house. We had furniture in the living room and dining room, and the 'carpet guys' were tromping through to get the work done.

I spent a lot of time catching up on reading blogs, going through mail and trying to keep out of the way of the 'carpet guys.'

There were two of them and they worked most of the day, taking only about 20 minutes for lunch. One of them brought his son who spoke almost no English. But he and N. played on the swings together, climbed the tree, watched movie, and played Rollercoaster Tycoon. It is really interesting how well they got along, playing Horse...or is it Caballo? :)

At one point, I was talking to the little boy and said to him, "Como se dice...?" And pointed at the microwave. (He was heating up lunch for himself, his padre and his companero). N. turned to me and said, " I didn't know you could speak Spanish. I said, "Solamente un poco. But I used to be fluent. I had six years in junior high and high school, and then two more years in college. But I found I could no longer remember the past tense! Oy!

N. and I joined the 'carpet guys' and the boy on the porch for lunch. There was too much furniture in the dining room. They had the burritos. We had turkey sandwiches. I gave everyone root beer.
It was a long job. They were finally done at about 6 PM.

But they still had to move the furniture back inside! See it there outside the French doors?

I think the carpet looks pretty good, though.

Once they were gone and dinner was over, I still had to put the room back together. And I was really tired. So tired that I felt like I couldn't string more than two words together.

And we still weren't done...
Because today, Henry the Little Red Truck got a brand new look!
Just in time for the solstice.
Tomorrow I plan to do laundry. That's it. I'm not going ANYWHERE.
Except out to look at Henry.


momof3feistykids said...

I love the way he is toying with your expectations for his literalism. I have a smart kid with Asperger's, too.

Amie said...

Just wanted to check in and say that I have been reading, but not commenting lately because I'm usually holding a baby ;)

Amy (aka "Mom) at said...

Irony! I LOVE it!!!

Lill said...

I like N's toying with irony too. Sounds like he's gone up a step in maturity. We live in the state (Maine) where the sun shines first, and let me tell you, there's no ignoring the sun when it hits you at 4-something in the morning. It hits the birds too and they start talking about it and that wakes up the dog and she thinks we need to be awake too, so we're not getting an awful lot of sleep. This is the flipside of winter in Maine when the sun sets at 3 and we get very little in the way of daylight hours. So we lap it up while we can. I'm glad you're enjoying it too.
Shine On,