Scenes From My Balcony on Summer Solstice

During summer solstice, a sacred time here in Alaska when it’s light almost all night long, I sat on the balcony most of the day and night, reading and writing.

I’d squished all of my socializing in the day before. Coffee with one friend, a long walk with another, thrift-store shopping with my oldest daughter, and an evening hike up some good-sized hills with the youngest. A leisurely hair color and cut with my friend and stylist.

So on solstice, I did the thing I’ve always meant to do, which was nothing much. With the phone muted and no radio or television on in the house, I listened to the birds sing and Rottweiler on the next-door balcony snarl. I heard the wind rustle in the trees, and watched planes ascend. I read an entire book, and worked on two of my own. I watched in awe my new Polynesian neighbors arrived home from church, opening the door to their minivan so that a long procession of ornately dressed children could emerge. I counted six.

I thought about all of the scenes I’ve watched from this balcony over the past twenty-four years. Like my daughter at fifteen, learning to change the oil in a car with the help of my next-door neighbor (with the snarly Rottweiler). A mother moose with two babies, enjoying a nibble of our newly planted tree. Like my oldest, driving away, her belongings stuffed into her sedan, driving away one final time to move in to an apartment with a roommate. Two blocks away. Only to return home  a few months later.

And I thought about how this year is already half over, and reviewed my good intentions in the way of New Years Resolutions.

Spanish lessons? That didn’t go so well. But clearing my home of clutter and readying for the next great thing? Pretty on target. I’ve trimmed expenses and have continued with my weight training, albeit somewhat half-heartedly, so there’s that. And I stopped watching television.

But now, just taking a day to appreciate the stillness and the chaos from my balcony was a feat in itself. Typically, I need to be recovering from illness to do so little. I savored every bit of it.

How is your summer shaping up?  And are there things you’re working toward worth checking in on?

I hope you too can have one day to simply recharge your batteries.

Thanks for stopping by.

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