Summer came in with a bang: thunder and lightning crashed and flashed around us late Friday night, moving quickly to the east, and then another round made yesterday -- the first day of summer -- mostly overcast and a little damp, with more thunder and lightning.
In fact, that lightning torched fires throughout northern California, and by last evening, smoke flavored the air all around us, although we coudln't see anything, and it continued all night, although it was cooler than it's been.
A combination of winds and, I hope, successful containment, has pretty much eliminated the smokey air today, although it was hanging in the trees earlier this morning.
I was in Redding, where the skies opened up and dumped water on the dusty ground several times. I don't think we got much more than a little taste here, though, and it dried quickly.
When I lived in the midwest, summer thunderstorms always cooled things off and freshened the air, and I liked watching the lightning -- as long as it was past tornado season. Here, it is frightening at this time of year because of the fire danger. The cats don't like the thunder at all and stay close to us.
And yesterday was the longest day of the year -- more than 15 hours of daylight. In six short months we will be in the midst of rain and cold temps, and planning for Christmas. Fire will heat our home and we will enjoy watching the orange flames dancing behind the glass doors.
I hope you had a chance to enjoy this week's full moon and honor your summer spirit. This return of the sun has been celebrated for centuries with religious ritual and ceremony. Years ago I was in Sweden at midsummer -- one huge party all over the country, marked with maypoles and flowers and green branches everywhere, and business pretty much stops for about a week.
We've celebrated the sunshine by enjoying zucchini and yellow crookneck in various ways this week, and the cucumbers are nearly ready for picking. Green tomatoes are finally appearing, but the lettuce and spinach are done. Swiss chard is taking its time. I need to plant more...
Remember that each season, each day is a gift to us. Give thanks for what the day brings to you.