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When the Sun Stood Still

Edith here, writing from a hot, summery north of Boston.

Yesterday the sun stood still. That is, it was the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. The word is from the Latin solstitium – “point at which the sun seems to stand still” (according to Etymology Online, one of my favorite word history sites).

I love marking those days during the year when the light changes. From today onward, even though temperatures will increase and everyone calls it summer, the days begin to shorten in length until September’s autumnal equinox.

In my garden, the garlic and onions mostly cease producing new green stalks and instead pour their energy into swelling into bulbs underground.

A little of Edith’s garlic crop after harvest and curing a couple of years ago.

Birds take note of day length, as do other, above-ground crops. Ancient peoples did too. Perhaps most famously, Stonehenge’s Neolithic builders seem to have made it so the sun on the summer solstice rises above the Heel stone and falls in the center. On the winter solstice it sets also perfectly centered.

Summer Solstice Sunrise over Stonehenge by Andrew Dunn, 21 June 2005, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

I haven’t yet visited Stonehenge, but hope to before I shed this mortal coil. Meanwhile, I’m celebrating the start of summer with several online cozy events. We listed them in the last Wickeds newsletter, but I’ll give you a quick recap:

Back to seasons – and writing – I find it a comfort that the solstice happens every June and December, just as the spring and fall equinoxes occur without fail. To everything, its season. I’m glad I’m not a person who was scared every year that the sun would burn me up if the days didn’t start to shorten, or that I would freeze and never eat again if the days continued to shorten in December and the sun didn’t return, as ancient people feared .

The process of writing a book similarly has a season, although for me they aren’t tied to the calendar seasons. There’s always the first page, the story building in the beginning chapters, the terrible sloggy middle, the exciting ending – all of it together making the first draft. I then revise and revise and revise. With every book I send in the manuscript (and cross my fingers my editor will like it). Copyedits come in for each book, then proofs, then publication date arrives, with the flurry of promotion accompanying it. And always there’s the trepidation this will be the book no one likes.

But even if it is, I’ll write another. And another and another. I can’t NOT add one more book season to my life.

Readers: What one thing must you do? Does it have seasons?

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