Yesterday, June 21, I sat outside on my deck surrounded by potted herbs and flowers enjoying the 80 degree temperature. In our corner of the world, the U.S. state of Ohio, it was the first official day of summer, having more daylight than any other 24 hour period of 2017. Sunrise was just before 6:00 a.m. and sunset didn’t occur until 8:56 p.m., giving us more than sixteen hours of daylight.
I have lived in the state of North Dakota where the sun did not set until 9:49 p.m. yesterday. Having daylight until 11:00 p.m. was fun, but caused me to experience some summer insomnia, having wakeful energy well into the night and needing to get up with kids shortly after the 6:00 a.m. sunrise. I did prefer this, nevertheless, to the December days that had as little as eight and a half hours of sunlight.
More daylight means more time to enjoy the sounds, sights, and activity of Summer in Ohio. The sound of our summer day begins well before sunrise. Our early bird, a robin soon joined by friends, begins singing around 4:00 a.m. and continues until after dark. There are more bird songs in the air than I can identify. The robins’ and cardinals’ tunes are blended with chirps and trills of song sparrows, finches, and mourning doves with occasional blue jay and crow calls. Most days I forgo turning on music, content to listen to nature’s song. Yesterday’s breeze stirred the leaves of our backyard trees, creating a swelling and subsiding soft percussive sound.
I also enjoy seeing a variety of birds and other wildlife visit our yard throughout the summer days. We recently installed a bird feeder near our bird bath. The menu is limited. Today’s feature is black sunflower seeds. Tomorrow’s feature will be the same. Our patrons don’t complain. Many varieties of birds frequent the feeder, but often find it empty due to the hoarding instincts of our chipmunk and the persistent squirrels who scurry up and down the pole for a bite to eat.
We are blessed in our neighborhood to have a melanistic subgroup of the Eastern Gray Squirrel who also likes black sunflower seeds.
The bird bath is popular for more than washing up, and serves as a watering hole for birds, squirrels, and occasionally a white-tailed deer.
I had the great pleasure of watching a days-old fawn from our dining room window for a couple of weeks this year and expect him to be back for snacks throughout the months to come.
While summer in Ohio has its rather laid-back warm hours, it is not void of activity. Both my husband and I were born in the Buckeye State and enjoy traveling a few hours to our family reunions – a Lake Erie Fish Fry for the Frisch side and an August Sweet Corn Roast for the Vent/Pfeiffer side. Celebrations of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, as well as the patriotic holiday weekends often find us driving two hours to spend time with our sons and daughter-in-law in Columbus. I enjoy the lighter packing and freedom from fear of snowy or icy roads.
During this stage of my life, I have several volunteer commitments that follow our nine month school schedule. That frees up time during the summer to accomplish some practical projects at home. This year I am sorting through closets, cupboards, drawers and boxes for items to include in a summer garage sale. My husband and I are working together on some home improvement projects including reupholstering dining room chairs (complete) and remodeling our upstairs bathroom (in progress).
I have come to anticipate the weeks of summer as a time for personal renewal and spiritual growth. I seem to find more time for lunch with a friend. I feel free to take the time to sit on the deck and read a book, not wanting to waste the season by remaining in the air conditioning. It has become important to me, also, to spend some hours considering what God’s current assignment is for me. Are there things I’ve been doing that can be considered finished? Is there something He would like me to start doing? It was during this prayerful openness to His plan for my life last summer that I heard the words “begin a blog.” There are some stirrings in my heart this summer that need more definition and I joyfully anticipate the unfolding of new things.
As the afternoon of the First Day of Summer gave way to our longest evening of the year, a dark cloud rolled in bringing the threat of rain and I heard our garage door going up, signaling my husband’s returned from a two-day work trip. Since I had not started our gas grill to prepare dinner yet, he took me to a Chinese restaurant where we chatted about our day as the shower passed. No matter that it was 8:30 p.m. until we began our evening neighborhood walk. There was still plenty of daylight as we took in the stunning summer sunset.
This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.