Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A dusky tradition

Ten years ago, on the summer solstice, right before sunset I took a pad of paper and my iPod to a hillside at Donner Park near our house. I wrote about summer and life. Ben had just been born, and I deep in a reassessment of my priorities and goals.

Every summer since I've come back to this hillside to write about summer and life, on the solstice or soon thereafter if the schedule didn't permit (as it didn't this year). I listen to "Sister Golden Hair" and reflect on the year that passed and what the future holds.

Ten years of this tradition are now in the books. Eventually, I brought the laptop out instead of just a notepad (no transcribing to the blog ...). Here I am again, 2016, on this hillside, reflecting on the year.

The fluster that might have evident in last year's solstice post grew and grew as the months simultaneously dragged and sped by. Some of those months were rough -- I don't think I ever had insomnia as bad as I did last winter. Everything seemed so pressing, especially work.

Then, it all got better. The job stabilized to something I'm happy with. I started sleeping better. I started appreciating every day more rather than trying to barrel through it. Summer so far hasn't been a festival of awesomeness -- it's still been busy -- but it's been good. Warm. Mellow. I can handle that for now, and there's plenty of weeks left.

The sun just ducked behind Antelope Island. It hasn't officially set, but it will. I hit play on "Sister Golden Hair" and the guitar riff that screams sunset to me. The thing I'm realizing this year as I sit here is that I'm in a bit of a home stretch with the boys. Yes, they have years before they are out of the house, but with Michael close to being a teenager, the little kid years are past us for good. I think that's why I'm a little bit at peace of where I'm at in my life right now. The job is manageable. The family is wonderful. The days are mostly complete. There is much I want to do still, but there's no immediate rush.

I think of my friend Tom who just died and didn't see this solstice. His passing gives me a sense of priority, but not desperation. The stress and anxiety just isn't worth wasting the limited energy we can devote to everything else every day. Our group of friends had some great summers growing up. Those summers may have went by too fast, but too fast is preferable to not at all. Tom, at least I hoped, lived his life with the "not at all." It's something I need to remember over the next 12 months, until the next time I'm on this hillside.

The familiar breeze that blows down the mountain after the sunset has set in. The chill feels good after the hot day. I'm thankful for today and looking forward to tomorrow.

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