Summer Solstice and National Aboriginal Day

As a kid, I remember looking at the calendar on June 21, and it always said, “First Day of Summer.” That always confused me. Summer was already happening, and I wondered why the calendar people always got it wrong. For us kids who lived on 89 street, the last week of June meant the end of school—long evenings of playing hide-and-seek and reveling in our new found freedom
I first became aware of the solstice while watching The Wonderful Stories of Professor Kitzel, voiced by Paul Soles (I’m sure that reference dates me). It was the Stonehenge episode; I was eight years-old, and just beginning to realize that the world was much larger than I’d ever imagined.
Stonehenge has fascinated me ever since, and I was fortunate enough to visit the monument last August with my daughter. It’s a strange and wonderful place, a ruined circle of standing stones, now circled with a walkway for the innumerable tourists who visit the site every year. If the fence wasn’t in place, the site would suffer—but I still wish I could have walked inside that ancient circle.
June 21 marks the Summer Solstice, but in Canada, it also marks National Aboriginal Day, a celebration of Canada’s First Peoples. If you are living in Edmonton, you can take part in events all week that feature the culture and art of Canada’s First People—more reason to celebrate this time of year.
If you live far enough north, you will understand why people around the world have always celebrated this day. It’s a time of light and growing things—the polar opposite of the long days of winter. However you spend your time this June, enjoy the days: take the time to walk, cycle, work in the garden, or just be outside with kids, friends, and those you love.