Friday, June 20, 2008

So This is Summer

Happy Summer Solstice, everyone. Depending on your philosophical outlook, you might be celebrating today as: Alban Heflin, Alben Heruin, All-couples day, Feast of Epona, Feast of St. John the Baptist, Feill-Sheathain, Gathering Day, Johannistag, Litha, Midsummer, Sonnwend, Thing-Tide, Vestalia. I'm partial to the Pagan celebration of Litha but to each their own. Today is also Hike Naked Day.

Here in the Northwest, I am still waiting for warm weather. Olympia might make 80 degrees today and I may get to wear shorts until it cools off again in a few days. Everyone here agrees that this has been an unusually cool spring. I do recall from previous hikes in the Cascades that temperatures can be warm in July and August. Even with the cool temperatures, the UV index is high here.

Still, the rather slow to are summer here is better than Phoenix, which is forecast to reach 114 today. At least I can go outside during the day without the sun burning my eyeballs to a fine ash. But even in the summer temperatures of the Arizona deserts, today is worth celebrating as the sun begins to slowly move toward the south again, bringing cooler temperatures in...oh, say, late September or October.

I'll celebrate today by opening all the windows, riding my bike and studying for the certification test to become a Department of Veterans Affairs claims agent. As a claims agent, I will have standing to represent veterans seeking benefits from the VA. I plan to do so on a volunteer basis, putting to good use the bureaucratic skills I've honed over past three decades. All I have to do is plow through about 10 pounds of laws, regulations and procedures.

Time to hit the books.



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