'Whoever wants to enjoy the brightness of sunshine, must quit the coolness of the shade.' ~Samuel Johnson
Today (June 21st) is the longest day of the year. If the weather conditions are right, we could actually get 17 hours, 1 minute and 26 seconds of sunshine! Nature and the planet earth's time clock are accurate and reliable. For those living in the northern hemisphere, the earth has been tilting towards the sun for the past six months and for the next six months it will begin to tilt away. The biggest tilt towards the sun will be today and hence such long hours of sunshine. Just as Christmas coincides with the winter solstice, the feast of St John this coming Friday (June 24th) coincides with the summer solstice. In Cork we know there is a strong tradition of lighting bonfires on the eve of St John.
From a spiritual point of view the summer solstice has a message too. In life we are always invited to tilt towards everything that is good and life giving. We are equally invited to tilt away from negativity, bitterness and darkness. Nature has worked out that balance over millions of years. We are often unsure and unsteady about where to find balance in our lives. The invitation on the longest day of the year is to tilt even a little, to something good and worthwhile in our lives.