Time stands still: Looking at summer through a child’s eyes

Yippee! Summer officially started Wednesday. To be exact, the Summer Solstice (a.k.a. June Solstice) occurred Wednesday, June 21, 2017, at 12:24 a.m. in Johnson County. On the longest day of the year, the sun rose at 6:16 a.m. and set at 9:16 p.m. — making the day 14 hours, 59 minutes and 22 seconds long.

Merriam-Webster informs us the word solstice is from the Latin solstitium — from sol, the Latin word for “sun” and stitium (to stop, stand), reflecting the fact that the sun appears to stop at this time. I don’t have any scientific facts to back up my next theory, but I believe children detect that life seems to stand still in the summer more than adults.

I sent a text Monday asking my brother David what he was doing. He immediately texted a photo of his 5-year-old triplets, donned with shorts, T-shirts and colorful rubber boots, in the middle of a ‘child-size creek’ (a.k.a. a tractor rut filled with rain water). They were building a dam with rocks.

As they joyously and deliberately stacked the rocks to contain the water — the day was long and life stood still.

On Monday evening I watched my brother Chris’ sons Eli and Isaac play their baseball playoff championship games at the Ray Skillman Little League Field. I can only imagine how life stands still for a second when you are 10-year-old Eli, and he cracks a nice solid grounder to the outfield or later when he’s playing second base and picks up a grounder like Derek Jeter and throws it for an out.

Or when your 8-year-old (Isaac) and you make the game-winning hit to take you to the championships, but your team loses an excitingly close playoff game — and the season is over. Sometimes time stands still.

And yet sometimes the entire day actually seems to stop and doesn’t seem to move at all.

Despite Wednesday being the official Summer Solstice, Monday was the longest day for my 5-year-old nephew. Drew, who was trying his hardest to be patient, had to wait for his older brothers to finish their baseball games so he could officially celebrate his fifth birthday.

It was overheard that while his older brothers Isaac and Eli were warming up for the game in their front yard earlier in the day, Drew ran inside to grab a bat. His mother assumed Drew was just going to join his brothers’ impromptu baseball warm-up.

Instead, Drew marched with his bat-in-tow toward the closet that opened to his hidden hanging birthday piñata. He was caught taking early swinging practice. (At the time of writing, the closet walls had yet to be inspected.)

Cheers to the long days of summer. May we enjoy them through the eyes of a child.