Let the longest day be your starting point

Last night, the stretch of the light pushing back the darkness eased up a little on the pressure. Proud at itself for stretching out the day for as long as it could, it stalled and said, ok, this is as far as I’m going to get this year. I’ve pushed the light as much as I can. I’ve thrown illumination on the land for as much of the day but now I’m weary, and I must give in to the inevitable and start to concede light and ground.

And so tonight, it begins its rowback. Tonight, the length of our day will start to shrink, by a small amount at first, barely noticeable, but a regress none the same.

However dispiriting the arrival of the longest day might be, don't be downcast, because there is still rather a lot of good summer and autumn to enjoy before we truly hit the dark stuff. Like an Angelus bell or a call to prayer or a moment of mindfulness, the arrival of the longest day each year is one that stops us in our tracks, probably at 5am when the sunlight spills through the windows like a rave night at Newgrange. And it makes us wonder about what we have achieved with the first half of another year.

We are only given a finite number of years to cram into our lives. The years seem to take an age when you are young, but as you get older, they flash by with alarming alacrity. This is time we should be grasping. The light we absorb at this time of the year should be our solar power for the winter ahead. This is one of the best times of each year, so get out and fill your lungs with fresh air, get those legs moving, those arms swinging. For those who are less mobile, let it filter through your eyes, let the sounds and smells of summer attack your senses.

Here in the west we happen to live in one of the most beautiful parts of Europe. To one side, we have the mountains, to the other the sea. The western air that hits us is fresh, uncontaminated thus far on its journey across Europe, so we should fill our lungs with as much of it as possible. The air that we breathe and the scenery that our senses absorb are enough to bring in hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. We live with it every day, so we should embrace it with equal affection as those who infrequently pay homage to it.

Enjoy the place we live in, share it with a friend, together enjoying it we create the bonhomie and ambience that makes Galway and the west a truly remarkable place in which to live. Get out there and inhale it all. Enjoy midsummer.

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