Updated: June 20, 2012 4:57PM
Now this is going to sound really self-serving. Today is my birthday. It’s not a landmark — that came and went last year. And, I’m not trolling for presents or even well-wishes. However, I couldn’t let the day go by without commenting on the significance of me being born on June 21.
You see, all my life, I’ve been like a vampire in reverse with an extraordinary craving for sunlight. Short days, little sun and I’m majorly bummed — physically and psychologically. Over the many years, I’ve come to associate it with being a summer solstice baby. I came into the world early on the first day of summer and, because it stayed light until after 9 p.m. on my first day of being, of course I would figure that’s how life here on Earth was meant to be.
Imagine my extreme disappointment as things went downhill from there in the waning of the days. However, I’ve learned to use these several extra hours of daylight well. After work the evening is filled with planting, replanting, weeding, watering, walking Issy the Terrible (Terrier), chatting with neighbors, or sitting outside reading or sipping a glass of wine with friends until the light finally begins to fade. Summer is a gift and it’s underappreciated. How do you use the extra time?
Susan Stark, Dyer: I work and my kids are in daycare after the school year ends so we use our summer evenings as family time. After dinner, the dishes wait, we pack up the baby in the stroller and all five of us head out for a long walk. Originally, we did it for the exercise but slowly, my husband and I began to see that, without the din of the television or the ringing of cell phones, our kids were really talking to us again … and seeming to enjoy it. What makes it special is that this time is now something they seem to look forward to each night. Come the end of Daylight Savings Time, we’ll need to find another way to extend this new family tradition through the long winter months.
Cliff Sopko, Highland: Summer used to be my favorite time when our kids were little. I coached Little League, but my kids are grown now and scattered, along with my grandchildren. When my wife died a couple of years ago, I found myself sitting inside a lot with the A/C running full blast. It could have been the dead of winter, for all I knew. Then a neighbor invited me to his kid’s baseball game. I was hooked again. At least once a week now, I look for the lights of a nearby baseball field and go watch the kids play into the dusk and beyond.
Margot Flynn, Merrillville: I used to sit out on my deck with a cool drink and a good book for an hour or so but one evening, I set up shop on my driveway instead. Imagine my delight when I found that many of my neighbors do the same. Great thing…I’ve made new friends who have lived close for years.