Summer solstice

When I was 9 or 10, my parents “traded” their Mexico City home with a family from Vashon Island, Washington.

I have lots of happy memories from that vacation: digging for clams at low tide; the smell of the brine in the air; how happy my dad seemed to be near the sea …

But my most vivid memory involves lying awake at 9:30 p.m. — long past my bedtime — and listening to the neighbors’ children playing outside.

There was something magical about those long twilights.

That memory is especially vivid tonight: It’s almost 10, and yet there’s still a sliver of gold on the horizon.

But instead of brine, tonight I’m smelling charcoal fumes. And instead of children’s voices, I’m hearing car engines and slamming doors.

The long, langorous days of summer may no longer carry the same magic. But they still fill me with wonder at the vastness and complexity of nature, and at how lucky I am to be alive.

Happy summer solstice.

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