Category: Spirituality

Dogs too can form perfect friendships

Dogs are such a special species!

I know this has been said before and no doubt I will say it again many times but dogs frequently bond closely with other dogs. There’s no knowing, frankly, what triggers the friendship but we humans can see it so clearly.

Take this recent article published on The Dodo about a dog and his sister.

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Dog Knows Just How To Help His Anxious Sister When She Gets Carsick

Dogs are too pure for us ❤️

By Lily Feinn

Published on the 25th June, 2021

Meet Eddy — a dog who knows exactly when his family needs a little extra help.

Ashley Karlin adopted Eddy, a black Lab, from a shelter two years ago as a companion for her senior dog, Daisy. And since that day, Eddy and Daisy have been inseparable.

“Eddy and Daisy play like siblings. They egg each other on and run around in the backyard together,” Karlin told The Dodo. “They sleep next to each other and sometimes on each other.” 

The 95-pound cuddle bug is also extremely perceptive. Eddy can sense immediately when something is off with a member of his family — and he hops into action.

Eddy uses this skill frequently when traveling with his sister. Daisy has always had car sickness and gets anxious when it’s time to go for a drive, but Eddy is a pro when it comes to soothing her.

“When she lies down in the back seat and starts to drool, Eddy lays the opposite way so he can rest his head on top of hers,” Karlin said. “If he doesn’t do this, Daisy constantly gets up, lies down, gets up, lies down on repeat until she vomits.”

“I think Eddy just has a sense of when others aren’t feeling well and he’s always there to comfort her,” Karlin added. “We’ve noticed every time they lie down together like this, she doesn’t puke and usually will fall asleep.”

Eddy also monitors his mom to make sure she’s OK and is always the first to know when there’s any change. 

“My husband and I recently found out I’m pregnant, and one of the signs that tipped us off was that Eddy constantly would put his head on my tummy,” Karlin said. “Eddy has [also] on numerous occasions woken me while sleeping to alert me that I was going hypoglycemic, even though he’s not trained to do so.”

Eddy is always there when his mom or sister needs him — and they can’t picture their lives, or car rides, without him.

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All photographs by Ashley Karlin

This is yet another example of the caring and bonding that dogs make. Make with many other dogs and many of us humans.

They are an example to all of us!

And another case of ex-rescue dogs bearing no scars!

A tribute

To my dear Pharaoh.

I was sorting through some papers over the weekend and I came across something that I wrote on the 14th September, 2007.

Let me explain.

2007 was a very important year for me. I had barely got over the fact that my ex-wife had walked out on me the previous December 20th but had been given the revelation that my fear of rejection had been brought into my conscious state after having been unconscious for 50 years. This was a fantastic outcome from just one visit to a local psychotherapist.

I had been out to California in the summer to see Dan. His sister, Suzanne, had called by and invited me to come to Mexico for Christmas. I was unaware that this trip to Mexico was to change my life for the better in every imaginable way!

Anyway, back to my writings.

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I am your dog and have something I would love to whisper in your ear. I know that you humans lead very busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise, some have to do this alone. It always seems like you are running here and there, often too fast, never noticing the truly grand things in life.

Look down at me now. While you sit at your computer. See the way my dark, brown eyes look at yours.

You smile at me. I see love in your eyes. What do you see in mine? Do you see a spirit? A soul inside who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a single moment of moment of your time. That is al I ask. To slow down, if even for a few minutes, to be with me.

So many times you are saddened by others of my kind passing on.

Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, so suddenly that it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes, we age slowly before your eyes that you may not even seem to know until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract-clouded eyes. Still the love is always there even we must take that last, long sleep dreaming of running free in a distant, open land.

I may not be here tomorrow. I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the water from your eyes, that humans have when the grief fills their souls, and you will mourn the loss of just ‘one more day’ with me. Because I love you so, this future sorrow even now touches my spirit and grieves me. I read you in so many ways that you cannot even start to contemplate.

We have now together. So come and sit next to me here on the floor and look deep into my eyes. What do you see? Do you see how if you look deeply at me we can talk, you and I, heart to heart. Come not to me as my owner but as a fellow living soul. Stroke my fur and let us look deep into the other’s eyes and talk with our hearts.

I may tell you something about the fun of working the scents in the woods where you and I go. Or I may tell you something profound about myself or how we dogs see life in general. I know you decided to have me in your life because you wanted a soul to share things with. I know how much you have cared for me and always stood up for me even when others have been against me. That gift from you has been very precious to me. I know too that you have been through troubled times and I have been there to guard you, to protect you and to be there always for you. I am very different to you but here I am. I am your dog but just as alive as you.

I feel emotion. I feel physical senses. I can revel in the differences of our spirits and our souls. I do not think of you as a dog on two feet; I know what you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still.

So, come and sit with me. Enter my world and let time slow down if only for a few minutes. Look deep into my eyes and whisper in my ears. Speak with your heart and I will know your true self. We may not have tomorrow but we do have now.

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The anniversary of Pharaoh’s death in 2017 in this Friday, June 19th. He is still missed badly.

This is very sweet!

There is something about a baby!

I must admit to leaving preparing a post until late in the day. I was going to leave it blank but then decided that this was such a sweet story that it had to be shared with you all!

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Dog Loves Listening To Her Baby Brother In Mom’s Belly

She won’t stop wagging her tail ❤️️

By Caitlin Jill Anders

Published on the 16th April, 2021

Avon has always been a very hyper dog, but recently she’s gotten a little calmer — and that’s because she suddenly realized that her mom is pregnant. 

“I think she first noticed I was pregnant when I was around 14 [to] 15 weeks because she would normally jump around so much, but she started being more gentle,” Shea Haugen, Avon’s mom, told The Dodo. 

SHEA HAUGEN

Now, Avon loves to rest her head on her Mom’s belly — because she loves listening to her baby brother moving around inside. 

“She definitely lays her head down to listen to him and she gets really excited when he kicks,” Haugen said. “Typically that’s when her tail starts wagging uncontrollably.”

The dog who used to be so hyper and moving around all the time could now lay with her head on mom’s belly and listen to her baby brother forever, and that’s what true love looks like. Avon can’t wait to meet the newest member of her family, and her mom has a feeling he can’t wait to meet her, too. 

“Funny enough, my baby boy seems to like [giving] her a good kick whenever she lays her head on my tummy,” Haugen said. 

Very soon, Avon is going to be a big sister. In the meantime, she’ll keep following Mom around and laying her head on her belly, proving to everyone what an incredible big sister she’s going to be.

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There’s no question at all that the bond between dogs and humans is so, so special.

I’m sorry but I have to dash now!

Sangah Noona

A real find!

Jean and I belong to a local group of Freethinkers and Atheists and at our Zoom session held last Saturday someone mentioned how he was a follower of Sangah’s music. We hadn’t previously heard of the South Korean musician but these days it didn’t take much effort to find out a lot more.

Sangah has her own website from which the following is noted:

Sangah Noona was born in Seoul, South Korea. Shortly after beginning her piano lessons at the age of five, her piano teacher was able to hone her talents for music, and suggested that she seriously consider pursing music for her future. She grew up with her piano as her best friend. She loved to practice, usually spending five to seven hours a day. At the age of nine, she had all but decided to focus her attention on becoming a musician. Before moving to the United States in 2010, she was able to have many great experiences and fond memories as her musical career flourished in South Korea. After moving to the US with a fresh start, she was able to live at a more manageable performing pace, but as she can’t live without music in her life, she will never stop performing! Sangah’s overall objective for music, including her teaching, is being able to share her gift of music with others.

Plus Sangah is a dog lover!

Her dog’s name is Bubuji.

Then watch Sangah on the piano.

And for something a little more classical.

Beautiful!

The two of us!

A guest post from Sarah.

I have only recently made the acquaintance of Sarah’s blog The Two Of Us but it already has been a delight. So much so that I reached out to Sarah and asked if she would like to be a guest author. I am delighted to report that Sarah was pleased to do so.

First, let me add a little more about her blog. The Two Of Us has a sub-title of A college student and a Border Collie stumbling through life.

Next, Sarah explained in an email to me that:

I’m Sarah and my dog is Brèagha. She’s a Border Collie and I’m a college student hoping to become an animal behaviorist of some sort. Brèagha and I have been together for 3 years, and they have been the best three years of my life so far.

So with no further ado, here is Sarah’s guest post.

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Every breath you take

By Sarah, November 6th, 2020

One of the things you get used to when you have a herdy type of dog (especially a Border Collie) is the staring. They stare. And they stare intensely. Your own personal stalker.

One of those things that might be rated “annoying” for some but definitely falls under “endearing” for me.

I love every last weird thing about her.

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Now that last picture reminds me of a recent post on Learning from Dogs, namely The dog world! where I republished the scientific work by  Associate Professor of Psychology, Illinois Wesleyan University.

In her report Ellen said, and I quote an extract from that post:

A recent study found that dogs that have been deprived of food and owners choose to greet their owners before eating. Further, their brain’s reward centers “light up” upon smelling their owners. And, when your eyes meet your dog’s, both your brains release oxytocin, also know as the “cuddle hormone.”

All of this research shows that you can make your dog happier with just one ingredient: you. Make more eye contact to release that cuddle hormone. Touch it more – dogs like pats better than treats! Go ahead and “baby talk” to your dog – it draws the dog’s attention to you more and may strengthen your bond.

So that second photograph of Brèagha is a prime example of her meeting Sarah’s eyes and should be held as long as both dog and human can manage.

Wonderful!

This is very beautiful.

I probably wanted to say “This is very beautiful in a profound and spiritual way.

One of the many things that make this funny world of blogging so delightful is the connections that are made.

Recently Learning from Dogs got a follow from a person who herself was a blogger. This is what she wrote on her About page.

Endurance athlete, artist, and fourth generation Oregonian. I grew up on the central Oregon coast and lived in the Willamette Valley most of my adult life. My endurance work is an intersection of spiritual, personal and creative practices. I fall in love with places, like people, and dream of them often. I am not a travel writer, bucket lister, photographer, peak bagger or a competitive athlete. I seek only passage.

I was intrigued. No, more than that, I was curious about her. I wanted to know more.

When I left a message of thanks over on her blog this is what I said:

Oh my goodness. I came here ostensibly to leave a fairly standard thank you for your decision to follow Learning from Dogs. But then I saw what you had written and, also, the beautiful photographs you have taken. I was just bowled over!

Do you have a dog or two? Because if you do I would love you to write a guest post over at my place. Or give me permission to republish one of your posts? But I would prefer the former.

My dear wife, Jean, and me are both British. We met in Mexico in 2007 and I moved out permanently in late 2008 with my GSD Pharaoh. We came up to the USA in 2010 and were married and then came to Southern Oregon in 2012. We live close to Merlin, Josephine County and just love it to pieces. Originally we had 16 dogs but are now down to 6!

Regrettably she is allergic to dogs but she quickly gave me permission to republish a post of hers.

This is it. It is remarkable!

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Into the fold: Basin and Range

May 26th, 2020

I guess I should have expected the snow, above 6000’ in the springtime. Flurries swirled around my car as I removed my leggings in the backseat and began cleaning my wounds. I was bleeding in four places, the largest of which was a grapefruit sized ooze of blood on my knee. What was supposed to be a quick, 3 mile warm up hike turned into an assorted practice of skills I’ve acquired over the last ten years in the woods.

How to navigate trailless canyons full of thorny brush.

How to step when gaining upon steep fields of melting snow.

How to traverses loose, snow covered boulder fields.

How to field dress a wound.

How to know when to turn around.

How to navigate by sight and evaluate terrain.

How to avoid getting your ankle crushed by a dislodged boulder.

How to stay calm when things get intense.

How to get your head back in the game.

How to self evacuate.

How to accept failure.

How to relish in it.

Just enough snow to mess things up.

Later, with my knee buzzing slightly from the pain, I make my way into a canyon on the western flank of the mountain. I know this canyon well. There is a safe place to hide from the rain, to collect drinking water, and I don’t have to worry about the roads turning to mud if the storms linger through the night. While my water filter drips, I follow the creek upstream. Wind swirls, aspens chatter, clouds are ripping across the sky. House sized, red violet boulders protrude from the hillside, they look like ships caught in the crest of a giant wave.

The sun is setting, the pain in my leg forgotten. I take my full water jugs and find a place to camp along the rocky beach of an alkaline lake. These lakes are the remnants of massive, Pleistocene era inland seas. Their waves are black. In the coldest parts of winter they freeze into a slurry of ice and the motion of the waves seems to slow. Like watching an inky black slurpee ocean crash against the rocky shore.

I eat instant noodles, drink tea, and think about the “real” ocean, where I was born.

To me, the desert and the ocean are like two sides of the same coin. I can watch the light change over the hills for hours, just like I can watch the waves break along the coast. Both are fascinating. The ocean always seems impassable, uncrossable, infinite, unforgiving. The desert is too, if you know the dangers well enough. I think about my close call on the mountain earlier. It’s like an old timer told me once, “…but only a fool tries to cross the desert”.

“Okay”, I said.

When the sun rises, I am already awake, shoving things around, getting ready to ride out to the canyons on the furthest side of the mountain. The dawn strikes a distant rim and is bright pink across the craggy face. I haven’t climbed that peak yet, either. I smile to myself as I toss my pack into the passenger seat, turn up the radio, and turn the ignition. I’m thankful for the warmth in my car this morning. Thankful for a shelter from the wind before my work in the canyon begins.

I found the place, but it took me a while.

After nearly 50 miles on gravel and dirt, weaving around the backsides of sprawling, ethereal lakes, several wrong turns, and a quite sporting, rugged road granting passage across the valley floor, I had finally reached the gates of this remote, unsociable place. Rimrock lined the canyon walls, massive boulders littered the valley floor, scattered throughout the mostly dry river channel. Each possessed its own creepy, brackish pond at its base, resplendent with robust algae colonies.

Some terrain cannot be run, and this was one of those places. I settled in to a comfortable, brisk hiking pace and made my way up the canyon; sometimes following the riverbed channel, other times taking the game trails through winding thickets of sagebrush and thorns. I never saw the animals, but I could feel myself being watched a few times. I do not mind; I always remember that I am their guest.

The otherworldly feeling of the canyon persisted, even as the landscape changed, flattened, rounded itself out. I took the old farm road out of the depths and up onto the flats again. The road leveled out as it wound it’s way around the mouth of the canyon, now obscured by the sagebrush sea spread out before me. You can see everything that is far away and nothing up close. The terrain is flat and easy here. I break into a run.

I love running downhill.

It’s all gravy until the weather blows in. I watch it coming across the valley. The first raindrops are warm and fat. A rainbow spreads across the horizon, snow clouds form on the rim of the mountain, and the wind really starts to rip. I resist the urge to increase my pace. My body is already sore; I’ve been out here nearly a week now. As the rain turns to sleet and then hail, it’s time to practice the things you’ve learned once more.

How to layer for various types of rain.

How to guard your face from the wind.

How to bundle your hands in your sleeves so they don’t go numb.

How to take your backpack off, open it and retrieve a snack without stopping.

How to run.

How to run when your feet hurt and you want to quit.

How to run when the rain turns to hail and catches you out on the flats with not even a rock to hide behind.

How to run when you are crying and you don’t know why.

Where do you go inside yourself when fatigue and boredom set it?

How do you stay present in all of it?

Everything is practice.

When I finally return to my car, the storm has passed, for now. The mountains beyond the valley are fully obscured by clouds. If I stay here, the road maybe be impassable by morning. I want to stay, but I decide the best course of action is to return the way I came. Also, the hot springs are over there, and my tired legs say, YES PLEASE. I hang my wet clothes up to dry along the windows of my car, crank the heat to 85, and hope my puffy dries out by morning. I rally back across the bumpy valley, behind the lakes, across the basin, up the face of the mountain all over again.

The hot springs are mercifully empty. I take off my clothes and stand naked in the cold air for a while, staring at the mountain. When I slip into the water, I feel like home. I feel like I belong. I am right where I want to be. Everything is just right.

But I don’t stay long.

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I subsequently asked where she had gone:

These photos are all from the SE corner of Oregon, reaching down into Northern Nevada. Hart Mountain, the Northern Warner Mountains, Abert Rim, Rabbit Hills, Summer Lake, and the formidable Catlow Valley.

Now you know!

But that doesn’t change my opinion that this is one unusual person who has the spirit of adventure truly in her bones!

The Last Chapter

A poem by Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

I have been given permission by Elizabeth to share this poem with you all.

It is profoundly and beautifully written.

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The Last Chapter

Life past, present, thoughts about the future, and ever changing world.

The Last Chapter

Life is a mystery novel, chapter after

Chapter, words painting every scene;

Leaving the mind filled with anticipation.

Each day viewed with the trusting mind

Of a child, innocence shades the memory,

Memories hide in the mind.

Can time change one’s past…No, and the

Future is unknown.  Life is a sailing ship

Upon the waves of what is soon to be

Tomorrow.

Where dreams may be lost upon turbulent

Seas, disparagement rains unkindly upon the

Unaware.  The guilty accepts no fault or

Responsibilities for a life that they may have

Brought fear and tears.

They do not have remorse, nor do they care.

Chapter after chapter, existence torn and

Ripped apart; the guilty never feel shame, nor

Show that they have a heart.

When one reaches the last chapter and the

End draws near, one’s mind returns to a

Childlike place, a place without tears and

Peace replaces the old fears.

No need to grieve that no one cared, no need

To be sad or try to bring back the good times in

Your yesterdays; the grieving will soon end and

One will no longer yearn for the love never there.

Now one’s heart beats alone and yet sometimes

Briefly filled with grief for those hearts that were

Long ago stilled.

Did sacrifice of the one-heart change how the

Guilty chose to live when the space they occupied

Is empty and the one-heart moved on; do the spirits

Of the guilty wander forever questioning where they

Went wrong.

With the last page read and the book closed

Shut, the one-heart watch page-by- page, chapter-

By-chapter many lives unfold; and the one-heart is

Left to wonder if re-written would a new story be

Told.

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Beautiful, if also poignant, and it speaks of the journeys we are all taking.

Zelda, incredible Zelda.

A heart-warming story.

At the end of May this year there was an article on The Dodo blog that just had to be shared with you. It was about the remarkable trait of Zelda, a foster dog that was being cared for. It is about coming home.

Read it for yourself:

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Dog Travels 40 Miles To Find Her Way Back To The Woman She Loves

Photo Credit: Seneca Krueger

When Seneca Krueger first picked up her foster dog Zelda last year, she could never have predicted the remarkable journey the dog would one day make to be with her again.

Krueger, who works as a psychotherapist, is a dog foster mom who specializes in helping rescued dogs learn to trust people again. She’s fostered 30 dogs so far, but Zelda was an especially difficult case.

“She came with anti-anxiety medications,” Krueger told The Dodo. “Zelda paced. All day long she was either pacing or hiding.”

Krueger noticed that Zelda seemed calmest when on a leash, so she began tether training her — and slowly the skittish dog began to open up. “When I was home, she was attached to me,” Krueger said. “Over the course of two weeks of tether training, I had also weaned her off of her anti-anxiety medications, and the pacing had decreased. She was even willing to come out of hiding on her own for brief periods of time.”

After two months of living with Krueger and her two family dogs, Zelda finally wagged her tail. At four months, she began to bark and play — though she still struggled with unexpected noises and when visitors dropped by.

Photo Credit: Seneca Krueger

Still, Krueger knew that she had helped Zelda as much as she possibly could, and it was time to let her go. “As Zelda began to gain a little more confidence, I decided it was time for her to find her forever home,” Krueger said. “This is what you are supposed to do as a dog foster; help them adjust and then happily say goodbye as they go and live their best lives.”

Krueger drove Zelda 40 miles to her new home, but parting with her was more difficult than she anticipated. “I had to pull over to the side of the road because I couldn’t see through my tears,” Krueger said. “For the first time in my 12 years of dog fostering, I felt like I had given away my dog.”

Ten days after saying goodbye, Krueger received the call that every dog owner dreads — Zelda had gone missing after slipping her leash. Krueger immediately jumped in the car to begin searching for her.

An all-volunteer dog search team called START (Search, Track and Retrieval Team) had also gotten word of Zelda’s disappearance. The team set up feeding stations and trail cams around the area, and sightings of Zelda began to pour in.

As temperatures dropped below zero, Krueger refused to give up on her search. “The coldest days were the days I spent the most time searching because I was desperate to get Zelda warm and safe,” Krueger said. “[I] spent hours out in the freezing cold, following dog tracks through ravines, frozen swamps and fields.”

Photo Credit: Seneca Krueger

Over two months later, Krueger got word that Zelda had been spotted in Minneapolis, halfway between the dog’s new home and her foster home.

Only then did Krueger realize that Zelda was trying to make her way back to her.

The adopters surrendered Zelda back to Wags and Whiskers Animal Rescue, the organization that set up the adoption, and Krueger was thrilled to have her dog back — if only on paper. “She was mine again, and I was more determined than ever to find her,” Krueger said.

Two weeks later, Krueger received news that Zelda had been spotted near her home. She put out feeding stations around her house and began dumping dirty laundry on the front lawn in hopes that the smell would coax Zelda back to safety.

A couple reached out to Krueger to let her know that they had been feeding a very skittish dog who looked like Zelda. But after so long, Krueger didn’t want to get her hopes up. “Although I really wanted this dog to be my Zelda, I knew that if there was a lost, scared dog out there on the streets, we had to help it,” Krueger said. “Even if it wasn’t the dog that I knew and loved, and missed so much.”

Finally, the couple was able to trap the emaciated dog and called Krueger in the early hours of the morning to let her know. Inside the cage, Krueger saw a small, nervous dog, who barely resembled the Zelda she once knew. But when the manager of START arrived, a quick scan of the dog’s chip confirmed the impossible.

Photo Credit: Seneca Krueger

After over three months on the run, Zelda had found her way home.

“It was a miracle, and what else do you do in the face of a miracle? I sobbed,” Krueger said. “I apologized to Zelda for not recognizing her. I touched her for the first time in 97 days. I assured her that she was going home forever and that I never stopped looking for her.”

Zelda has been adjusting well to being at home, and couldn’t be happier to be with her mom again.

“She has become my Velcro dog, and is never more than a few feet away from me at all times,” Krueger said. “My other dogs are happy to have her back as well and groom her a lot.”

For Zelda, this family is forever. “I never could have imagined that the whole time I was searching for Zelda, she was searching for me, too,” Krueger added. “Zelda is officially my dog. But let’s be honest, it’s not like I had a choice. She is very persistent.”

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Seneca Krueger is one hell of a lucky person and so, too, is Zelda!

Zelda was on her own for 97 days and Seneca for the same amount of time was also on her own.

This is a story that warms the cockles of your heart.

Summer solstice 2020.

As old as time itself!

holding-the-sunThe point at which the sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator is the Summer Solstice, well it is for the Northern Hemisphere. This occurs annually on June 20 or June 21, depending on your time zone.

Here in Southern Oregon, the moment of the Summer Solstice will be at 2:43 PM or 14:43 PDT on Saturday, i.e. today! For the United Kingdom it will be at 22:43 BST on the same day or 21:43 GMT/UTC.

A quick web ‘look-up’ finds that the word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time, albeit momentarily.

At the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge in Southern England, the prehistoric monument that took Neolithic builders an estimated 1,500 years to erect, for many years the Druids have celebrated the Solstice and, undoubtedly, will be doing so again.

AMESBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 21: A man stands on top of Stonehenge as the sun rises over Salisbury Plain on June 21, 2006 in Amesbury, England. Police estimated around 17,000 people travelled to watch the sun rise ove the 5,000 year old stone circle to start the longest day of the year. The all-night party to celebrate the Summer Solstice passed with only four arrests being made. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
AMESBURY, UNITED KINGDOM – JUNE 21: A man stands on top of Stonehenge as the sun rises over Salisbury Plain on June 21, 2006 in Amesbury, England. Police estimated around 17,000 people travelled to watch the sun rise over the 5,000 year old stone circle to start the longest day of the year. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

There’s a good article over at EarthSky on this year’s Solstice. I would like to quote a little from it:

At the June solstice, Earth is positioned in its orbit so that our world’s North Pole is leaning most toward the sun. As seen from Earth, the sun is directly overhead at noon 23 1/2 degrees north of the equator, at an imaginary line encircling the globe known as the Tropic of Cancer – named after the constellation Cancer the Crab. This is as far north as the sun ever gets.

All locations north of the equator have days longer than 12 hours at the June solstice. Meanwhile, all locations south of the equator have days shorter than 12 hours.

and

Where should I look to see signs of the solstice in nature? Everywhere. For all of Earth’s creatures, nothing is so fundamental as the length of the day. After all, the sun is the ultimate source of almost all light and warmth on Earth’s surface.

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you might notice the early dawns and late sunsets, and the high arc of the sun across the sky each day. You might see how high the sun appears in the sky at local noon. And be sure to look at your noontime shadow. Around the time of the solstice, it’s your shortest noontime shadow of the year.

If you’re a person who’s tuned in to the out-of-doors, you know the peaceful, comforting feeling that accompanies these signs and signals of the year’s longest day.

Is the solstice the first day of summer? No world body has designated an official day to start each new season, and different schools of thought or traditions define the seasons in different ways.

In meteorology, for example, summer begins on June 1. And every schoolchild knows that summer starts when the last school bell of the year rings.

Yet June 21 is perhaps the most widely recognized day upon which summer begins in the Northern Hemisphere and upon which winter begins on the southern half of Earth’s globe. There’s nothing official about it, but it’s such a long-held tradition that we all recognize it to be so.

It has been universal among humans to treasure this time of warmth and light.

For us in the modern world, the solstice is a time to recall the reverence and understanding that early people had for the sky. Some 5,000 years ago, people placed huge stones in a circle on a broad plain in what’s now England and aligned them with the June solstice sunrise.

We may never comprehend the full significance of Stonehenge. But we do know that knowledge of this sort wasn’t limited to just one part of the world. Around the same time Stonehenge was being constructed in England, two great pyramids and then the Sphinx were built on Egyptian sands. If you stood at the Sphinx on the summer solstice and gazed toward the two pyramids, you’d see the sun set exactly between them.

How does it end up hotter later in the summer, if June has the longest day? People often ask:

If the June solstice brings the longest day, why do we experience the hottest weather in late July and August?

This effect is called the lag of the seasons. It’s the same reason it’s hotter in mid-afternoon than at noontime. Earth just takes a while to warm up after a long winter. Even in June, ice and snow still blanket the ground in some places. The sun has to melt the ice – and warm the oceans – and then we feel the most sweltering summer heat.

Ice and snow have been melting since spring began. Meltwater and rainwater have been percolating down through snow on tops of glaciers.

But the runoff from glaciers isn’t as great now as it’ll be in another month, even though sunlight is striking the northern hemisphere most directly around now.

So wait another month for the hottest weather. It’ll come when the days are already beginning to shorten again, as Earth continues to move in orbit around the sun, bringing us closer to another winter.

And so the cycle continues.

Indeed, so the cycle continues as it has for time immemorial!