Days of Wine and Roses?

by Diane Ronngren

Unless I am sadly mistaken, we have, ever since the time of the caveman, celebrated the fullness of the Sun's power in a variety of ways throughout the ages. All creatures, great and small, come out to bask in the glory of the Summer sunlight, to absorb the energy and warmth of the long hours of sunlight, and to enjoy the lights playing across the evening skies as they relax after a long and event-filled day. It is almost as if the fingers of sunlight reaching across the skies and down to earth stretch out and push every activity button on every creature, plant, and living organism, activating us like so many toys. And we respond by moving around, carrying out our actions at high speed.

For many years I lived at the top of the world in Sweden, the land of the "Midnight Sun" among people who really understood the importance of sunlight in their lives. Although I never quite learned to accept sunset at 11 p.m. and sunrise three or so hours later, I did learn to appreciate how differently people act under the rays of our solar benefactor.

In summer the quiet, somewhat somber, darkly clad people who brusquely and quickly hurried on their way to or from anywhere to somewhere warm, shed their many layers of clothing, and put on warm smiles and a look of charming disarray. With the kids safely seat-belted into special bicycle seats and mom or dad at the wheel, it was off into the countryside for bike trips, picnics, the water--somewhere where the golden rays of the sun could touch naked skin and turn it from pale white to bright red, and then into honey brown as the season progressed. Working days were shorter by an hour, and long holidays or vacation time were the ideal. Sun worship in all of its multitude of forms is an art in the northern climes.

All through the long midnight winters a memory lingers of summer activities and highlights. There is much less of a need for sleep when the sun shines for 16 - 18 hours a day, and a lot more life can be squeezed into the hours of daylight than you can imagine!

Our ancient biological rhythms still pulse in our veins, and when the sun shines, we feel a need to be out and about. We spend a lot more time with our feet on Mother Earth, touching her surface with our bodies, experiencing growth, color, and warmth all around us. Even our ancestors who grew crops were able to take a little time most days to relax, go for a swim, or gather together with others to enjoy a picnic or some lazy conversation with each other, since all that is planted must have time to soak up the energy of the sun, to grow and ripen in its rays. The growing time could not be forced, and the waiting provided an opportune time for assessing the potential harvest, talking with neighbors and others, traveling and story-telling.

Then as harvest time approaches, all life feels the pressure of time once again. The days become divided once again into darkness and light. The rays of the sun no longer dance for long hours on a ripening field. And all of nature senses the need to collect and store whatever may be needed for the winter. If we look around us, we can note this rhythm, even in places where cold is not the issue. It is almost as if we are born with a clock inside of us which chimes the days and months, and lets us know it is time to change from sun worshipers back into responsible citizens once again.

Schools, colleges and universities open their doors to throngs of students getting ready to start the next school year. People return from summer vacations filled with energy, ready to face the challenges of their jobs. Stores exhibit new wardrobes, new businesses launch their products. The countryside is filled with produce stands offering the wealth of crops harvested from summer fields and gardens. We take an accounting of our circumstances, and at some level we all focus on improvements we will work on when the weather is more inclement. We put on a more serious demeanor, as we hurry to "put our house in order".

When the Sun moves through the signs of Gemini, Cancer and Leo, we let everything around us grow as we play with the dog in the sunlight--throwing a frisbee or a ball for him to run and catch. Or, we playfully catch our mate's hand as we go walking. Maybe we dance or hike on the shores of the ocean or lake we have selected as our own personal summer kingdom. Or, we stretch ourselves tall, and smile at the world as it goes by, feeling good about the changes exercise and sunshine have brought to our cheeks and brows and bodies.

Hot summer days, warm summer evenings with the sound of cicadas in the background give us a sense that all is well in our world. In the cities, it may be too warm to stay inside, so we sit out on our balconies or the front steps, meeting and greeting all who pass by, taking time to exchange friendly words with each other, or to discuss the happenings of the day.

Then when Virgo time arrives, we sense the need to get back into some kind of routine again. We sign up for that class we have been thinking about so we can improve our skills in some area of life; or we join that group of photographers, or exercise enthusiasts; or we check with the library or the bookstores to find a book club... We upgrade our computers, add software, get ourselves new devices to help us communicate with others in our lives, all because we see others stocking up....and there must be a reason! We want to be a part of it all.

We take a critical look at our wardrobe once again as we decide it's too cold for the flip-flops and casual wear of the sunny days of summer. We buy those new shoes we have seen in our favorite magazine; we cut our wild, summer locks into some kind of manageable style. We try to make a practical assessment of our daily routines to see where and how we will find the time to do all of the things we really want to accomplish.

And, as if that's not enough, well, now that we are in relatively good shape, we have to keep it up! Regular diet and exercise must be fit into our schedule. And we must remember to pick up those vitamins we heard were so necessary. And we had better make sure our health insurance will cover us if we need it. And we must remember to tidy out that patch in the garden where the tomatoes were, so that it will be ready for next year. And we must remember to... Should, must, have to, need to, don't forget to...Ah, yes. Those lazy, hazy days of summer. How could we forget so quickly!