June 22

Running in a meadow
Courtesy of Charlotte Salley

Yesterday was when I made all my money back. All the light I had lost to dark January days was coming back my way now. On June 21, the summer solstice, the sun rose at 4:38 A.M. and set at 9:24 P.M. There was a zero percent chance of rain all day. I had 17 hours to bask in sunshine.

In the morning, I watched sunlight ping from my transom window to the Dutch doors. The glint in my eye was all the impetus I needed to save errands and work for later. A morning of coffee in the park led to an amble around the neighborhood, empty cup in hand. Then why not walk into town after lunch? I went over the King’s College Bridge, watching punters cast off along the river with long poles shimmering water droplets. Further on, King’s Parade was full of blooming roses and crowded. Tourists, lingering students, and families all squinted at the brightness.

In the evening, I decided to spend the rest of my extra daylight on a country walk. Soon enough, I was plodding beside hedgerows and wheat fields, on my way to Grantchester village for a celebratory pint. There were a few clouds, mind you, but the sun was still a companion at my elbow. I was thrilled to be sharing the day with my own significant other, and everywhere we looked, people had grouped together to enjoy the evening. On the riverside path leading back into town, there were dog walkers, joggers, elderly married couples, friends with bicycles and picnic baskets, and students building bonfires and romping in the tall grass. We even saw a few swimmers.

Today the sun seemed to have stopped at noon. You’d have had to shake a sundial like a faulty stopwatch to get a proper reading. If I hadn’t been so tired from a day’s worth of walking, I would have felt guilty going inside before the sun set. But after a day’s worth of excitement, hunger had caught up with me. Even as I got into bed, light shone through my curtains, casting a yellow glow over the bedspread. I smiled to myself, glad that I had shivered my way through a Cambridge winter to reap these rewards.

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Charlotte Salley is a former assistant editor of the Scholar.


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