Summer solstice is in many ways my favorite day of the year.

I am not a night creature and daylight is very much my friend. So, arriving at the longest day of the year is always a special and fulfilling moment.

Beyond it, the year regresses toward darkness until winter solstice again marks the turnaround.

So when yesterday evening came around, I fought off a feeling of loneliness and decided to recognize that special time of year by taking a stroll around Lake Mirror in Lakeland.

It’s a good lake for a stroll but not so great for photographs because it is just a few blocks from city center and therefore impossible to escape the buildings on each horizon.

So, waiting until that moment where the buildings become silhouetted is about the only time I ever enjoy taking pictures down there.

It was a mostly clear sky in the west so sunset failed to deliver that magical plethora of colors that we sometimes see here in the Tampa Bay area. But a few jet trails in the skies and some feathered friends taking off to wherever managed to add enough character to make the imagery interesting.

I hope you enjoy the little collection at the end of this blog.

But solstice is more than just a physical moment in our year when the northern hemisphere is tilted more towards the sun that at any other time. It is also a reminder of the ebb and flow in our lives.

We experience life through a series of moments that flow from good to average to bad and it is important to recognize that none of it is constant. Life takes us on a ride that reaches many lows but then inescapably returns to highs when it is ready to do so.

There are moments when we feel stuck in a rut of low moments and we wonder if we will ever get out of it. But then, we always do. People who give up during that downward swing do themselves an injustice in having a lack of appreciation of the bigger picture of life.

The bigger picture takes into account our seasons and can console us, during the bad times, that better times are just around the corner. And it also cautions us not to take for granted our good moments as they will inevitable disappear on us.

Our lives can definitely become moment-focused. Even the best of us get drawn in to having to deal with a tragedy. But dealing with it, doesn’t mean getting lost in it. We should always remind ourselves that “this too shall pass”. This is an old Persian saying that tried to describe the fluctuations that life puts in our path.

It’s why casinos will readily allow winners to keep rolling the dice, safe in the knowledge that winning eventually stops. And it is why patrons keep rolling the dice even though they are thousands of dollars down.

Understanding and accepting this aspect of life (it is called ephemerality, by the way) is a key ingredient towards finding inner peace. It is a soothing balm in bad times and a calm reminder in good.

So whenever I hit a low, I stop and lick my wounds for a moment. But then I put on a band-aid and move forward because there will come a day when I probably don’t even fully remember that hurt. I have confidence in that truth.

My Mom referred to me as her “cockeyed optimist”, largely for my reactions to bad times. But it is hardly real optimism when you KNOW that times will get better. I would define it as realism.

So keep things real, folks. When good times happen don’t get too high. And when bad times happen, don’t get too low.

This is just life reminding us that try as we might, we are not in control of it. Hell, some of us can’t even control our hair. I am not sure why I said “us” there … I meant you folks with hair.

Have a peaceful week, everyone!