The Summer Solstice, Arriving Right Now in a Sky Near You

Yellow, orange and lavender sky at sunset on the eve of the summer solstice 2014 in California. Photo by BF Newhall

Last night, on the eve of the summer solstice, the sun traveled way north on our horizon and set on the far side of our neighbor’s monterey pine tree. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall, June 21, 2014, 3:51 a.m.

It’s midsummer. Right now. Today.

Earth’s northern hemisphere is as tilted toward the sun as it ever gets, which meant it was still light and sunny at our house well past dinnertime last night.

Husband Jon likes to amaze at how far north the sun travels before it sets at midsummer. Last night it dropped from the sky just north of the Monterey pine in our neighbor’s backyard.

If you live back east, the solstice arrives 6:51 this morning. If you’re a Midwesterner, you might be awake for it at 5:51 a.m. If you’re a Californian like me, you’ll probably be nicely asleep when it happens at 3:51.

The summer solstice is always a bit of a day of mourning at our house. Jon likes to remind me that the days will now proceed to grow shorter and shorter, and before you know it, it will be winter again.

But then, of course, there’s always the winter solstice, when the days start to grow longer again.



  1. George Alvarez-Bouse—Jache says:

    Thanks for reminding me of the solstice, for I had only an unconscious sense of its being yesterday morning, when I awoke and the sun had already appeared, as you reported it would, at 5:51. I appreciate your reference to the pine tree marker of its ‘descent’ and the philosophical close ‘when the days start to grow longer again’. That is a persistent theme in ‘The Golden Bough’. [Our classmate Linda Henning makes a living celebrating these events, which after all have been around in name ever since humanity observed them — ]

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