Seattle Summer Solstice

June 21

Up here in the northwest corner of the US, the thing we’re probably most famous for at Solstice time is our naked cyclists. These sun loving two wheelers strip down to their birthday suits and open the Fremont Solstice Parade. They’re a crowd pleaser every year, and hey, a gorgeous physique is not required to participate. Sometimes there’s lots of beautiful body paint, other times there’s that one portly guy wearing nothing but black socks, biking cleats, and a helmet. God bless them and their braver naked roller blading companions for their lack of inhibition and their free spirits.

We used to trek over to Fremont (no really, we’d walk the four-something miles) for the fair but now that we live on Seattle’s southwestern edge, we feel no need to make the excursion. Plus, we live a mere 10 minute stroll from what is surely one of the city’s most underappreciated sites, the Solstice Park. Last year near solstice time, I strolled down with a neighbor to find… no one there. And the actual day of the solstice? The park hosted six or so very civilized people drinking wine from camping water bottles and having a picnic.

“This will NOT do,” I declared, and decided then and there that the following year, I would claim the park for myself. Done and done. First, we spent several hours feasting on grilled whatnots and visiting with old friends and new neighbors,  Then, shortly before sunset, the 20 or so guests who did not need to head home to put small children to bed followed my lead to the park. We waited, chatted, and played our ukuleles,  but the clouds refused to break and we did not see our long shadows line the path of the summer solstice marker.

Never mind, a fine time was had by all. And last night, we wandered down to the park solo under a spectacular clear sky. The sun lined up perfectly, and just before the bright orange ball dropped behind the Olympic Mountains, our shadows filled the length of the summer solstice channel. Perfect.

Solstice Park, Sunset, June 21

We hope to see you here next year.

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