journal excerpt: solstice

Ancient people must have understood rate (speed/time) before understanding bald time; time must have been accessed only indirectly as it lurked on the underside of a ratio. Perhaps they determined the summer solstice by counting how many torches it took to get through a night, assuming, however vaguely, that the duration of one torch burning from end to end represented something regular, a measurement. Clearly, they wanted to measure and mark things; aren't the two solstices the occasions for the earliest festivals--perhaps along with planting and harvest?

The summer solstice is so much more conflicted and melancholy than the winter solstice, which demands only desire and hope. Christmas marked the beginning of a long slow increase of light and time. Now the shortening of days begins. We feel we should devour the summer at the same rate at which time devours it.