In a way, it's merely symbolic. The solstice happens to the entire Earth, though not necessarily to Tucson. Plus, our days max out before June 21 and stay maxed out for several days after the 21, but in our heads we know the days are getting shorter. Can't ya just feel it?!
It's one of my favorite days of the year, because I realize that the worst is behind us. Since just before Christmas, the days have been getting inexorably longer, first 10 hours, then 12, then 14, and then finally 14 hours and 17 minutes. It's just not right.
Then, just by coincidence, the more hours of sunlight we have, the hotter it gets! It's like a conspiracy. Further bolstering my conspiracy theory is the fact that as the days get longer and hotter, the sun is, like, directly overhead, so there's no shade. (Oddly enough, there's plenty of shade in December, but by then, it's summer in Bophuthatswana and they're the ones who need it, not us.)
Actually, it's not completely true that there is no shade. There are a few leafy trees around town, but when you're driving around, running errands, and would like to stop for a few minutes under some shady spot to drink a soda and maybe read a newspaper, try to find some shade. Every shady spot in Tucson is taken up by the car of someone who obviously arrived at work at 5:30 a.m. and knows exactly where to park, or by a postal employee. Now obviously, nobody wants to mess with postal employees, but these other people--what the heck?! You're indoors all day; what does it matter to you?
Someone might suggest that I stop at a park, get out of the car, and walk to a shady spot under a tree. What do I look like, John James Audubon? I don't want nature; I want umbrage (second definition; Webster's). Besides, the parks are full of nutbirds walking around with guns, hoping they can be the test case of some city law that happens to offend Charlton Heston.
No, I just want to sit in my car, listening to talk radio, sweating to the point where my shirt becomes one with the seat cover, reading the sports page, and drinking 86 ounces of Diet Pepsi before I move on to my next errand.
YOU KNOW HOW the latest thing in education is these "different intelligences"? Wait, in the interest of accuracy, you know how all those psych majors tried to justify the years and money spent on their degrees, so they came up with this system of multiple intelligences? Supposedly, there are things like visual/spatial, quantitative, and five others that no one really believes in. However, the hope is that if people keep talking about them as though they were real, someday they will become legitimate excuses for failing the AIMS test.
Heck, with just a little push, we could probably get to the point where the courts will order different AIMS tests for people with the different "intelligences." And then we'll have to have separate tests to determine exactly what those intelligences are in each kid. My grandkids are going to have to take that test! It'll still be tied up in court.
I tried to figure out which intelligence I am. (Don't say it! A cheap punchline is really no punchline at all.) After minutes of introspection, I determined that I'm football/basketball. I function best when the air is crisp, the days are short, and baseball is months away in either direction. My favorite time of year is the precious few weeks when football and basketball seasons overlap, and where the really cool holidays just tumble by.
And now that the days are getting shorter, we're headed in that direction, and life is good.
In the meantime, we have to deal with this solstice stuff. In the future, we have to get all the media outlets to put a lid on the solstice nonsense. That means no more Druid stories.
Do you realize how pathetic you have to be to take the Druid route? How many religions and/or drugs failed you to get you to dress like that and pretend that the earth tilting on its axis has some kind of spiritual meaning?
I saw a Druid the other day. He had the hooded robe on and everything. I thought the road show of Spinal Tap was in town. Why Druidism? What is there to look forward to? At least in Christianity, you can go to Heaven or Hell. Nice clear choice. What happens to Druids? They get to go to Led Zeppelin reunions and not look out of place?
Please, no letters from witches. I checked and the Political Correctness Pendulum reached its peak and is now swinging back in the direction of sanity. It reached its peak when somebody was able to drive around with a bumper sticker which read "Pro-Child, Pro-Family and Pro-Choice" for a month without their car getting egged.
Anyway, all you Wiccans and Druids can worship rocks and the wind; it's cool. Just don't try to tell me that that solstice is something other than God's way of telling us to hang in there because football season is on its way.