The solstice has traditionally been considered the start of summer. But that's so inadequate. By the 21st, June is 70 percent over, and in another 10 days the year will be half over. We much prefer the National Weather Service's measure of summer - from June 1 to Aug. 31 - or even the way most of us think of it - from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.
The Druids, we are told, thought of June as a particularly auspicious month, which is supposedly why it is so popular for weddings. The term "Honey Moon" is said to come from the copious amount of mead, fermented honey, the Druids drank at weddings, presumably by midnight. We think the Druids celebrated weddings in June for the same reason we do: The weather's good and school's out.
Two other great markers of the modern year - the beginning and end of daylight saving time - have a useful purpose attached to them: You're supposed to check the batteries in your smoke detectors. The solstice has nothing so earnest.
But next week, the days will start getting infinitesimally shorter, a process that will culminate with the winter solstice Dec. 21, when the night is longest and the day shortest.
Meanwhile, the summer solstice serves to remind us that the year is going by way too fast. Pour yourself another mead.