Summer arrives with a sense of heightened possibilities for the season ahead.
Illustration: Eddie Thomas Star Tribune
June is the month when summer begins, and so also begins to end.
Fortunately, the latter reality takes place at a pace that would dawdle behind a garden slug.
We bring it up only to ensure that you have a firm grasp of the situation. At the risk of making summer resemble a to-do list, it’s important not to waste a minute.
We’ll begin with a nap.
Then perhaps some daydreaming, taking care not to let your drink slip out of your hand, should you nod off.
If you’re up for it, the squirrels could use some supervision, best accomplished from a hammock. If you think night has fallen, that’s just your eyelids.
This quietude may seem a natural result of May’s frenzy, but actually is preordained behavior, specific to June because of Minnesota’s position on Earth and the Earth’s position in the cosmos.
On June 21, the state (and, OK, yeah, the whole Northern Hemisphere) will be more tilted toward the sun than it will be for another 364 days. This longest day of the year is considered the first day of summer, or summer solstice, a term that comes from two Latin words: sol for “sun,” and sistere for “to stand still.”
Thus, June is a month for stillness. For letting time slip by.
Time does that, you know. Here’s an example:
On June 20, the length of time between sunrise and sunset in Minneapolis will be 15 hours, 36 minutes and 52 seconds.
On June 21, this period peaks at 15 hours, 36 minutes and 53 seconds.
On June 22, the erosion begins with a stretch of only 15 hours, 36 minutes and 49 seconds.
A loss of four seconds may not seem like much — a sip of wine, a pop fly, a cannonball off the dock — but most folks prefer them to four seconds in January.
The calm before the warm
June can be bustling, of course. For centuries, it’s been known as a prime month for weddings. More summery months have made a play for the crown, but it wasn’t gonna happen. June still is when most Minnesotans marry, likely because mosquitoes have only just begun to hatch, yards still are green and a lucky couple might just marry before the peonies stop blooming.
There also are the high school graduations, with their accompanying parties, and their accompanying conundrum of how much money to include with the card. Some givers take a cue from the year, which in this case would be $20.14. Graduates may beg to differ.
June also is when garage sale season begins in earnest. Driveways become bizarre bazaars of vinyl records, baby clothes, mismatched place settings for seven, Nintendo games and flower vases. Exercise equipment is barely used or barely useful. The person looking for old Red Wing pottery rubs elbows with the seeker of manga comic books.