COLUMN: Mother Nature’s working OT

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The “longest days” of the year are upon us and if there’s any time to venture out super-early in the morning, it’s mid-June. These early weeks of summer, well, late spring, technically, bring the most hours of sunlight and too many people sleep away the overtime Mother Nature gives to us.

“Early to bed, early to rise,” is no guarantee to becoming “healthy, wealthy and wise,” but once you’re in the habit of rising early in the summer, you’ll not want to sleep in nearly as often.

What to do? Make morning walks, jogs, bike rides or drives your personal reflection time or even better, spend it with someone you care about. I know people who sit in a chair or picnic table and journal every morning. Others pray or draw.

At least one night of the weekend – for me it’s Sunday mornings – I’m out before dawn, usually way before sunrise. It’s my reflection time, sometimes the only waking hours I have to be alone and gather my thoughts.

My Sunday morning drives give me the chance to reflect, relax and think about the past week and the week ahead. But there’s plenty of other reasons to meet the rising sun.

I still find myself marveling on how early my surroundings lighten, even before the sun rises over the horizon. Some mornings it seems I could turn off the lights around 4:30 a.m. The summer moon adds amazing light and when the moon is full or nearly full, it almost seems like there is no night. Daylight just fades into a softer, quieter time.

Early mornings sends animals on the move: foxes, coyotes and the more commonly seen opossums and raccoons. I’ve yet to see my first armadillo, by the way.

Many birds are their most active in the predawn and dawn hours. I’m not sure why, but bluebirds like to sit on asphalt, perhaps drawing warmth, but always fly away in time to avoid a collision with my car.

So, before summer fades and becomes bitterly hot, set the alarm clock, or like me, the alarm on my cell phone, and get up early a few times this summer. Aim for 3 or 4 a.m. Go outside and let nature show you her wonder. You’ll be the better for it.

But don’t wait too long. Daylight hours start to shrink in just a couple of weeks.

Chapel Events

Everyone is welcome to visit the New Boston chapel June 22-23 to mark its (alas!) completion. There will be Mass at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and a pitch-in supper following.

Other than a stone cross mason Jim Fulkerson will be putting on the front and gilding portions of the altar that came from St. Mary’s church, the project is done. I posted a few photos on Facebook last week. The pews are in, the marble is shined and everything else is in place.

The chapel will be open all day June 22-23, so come and take a look. In fact, it’s always open, so swing by any time.

I want the June 22 Mass and cookout to be a great time so mark your calendars. I had plenty of help building the chapel and want to say thanks.

Musician Ed Rodimel, who performs under the name of 1 Man Monster, will perform the 22nd after supper. He is a one-man band with a guitar, keyboard and cajon drum. I’ve not heard Ed perform but I’ve heard good things about him.

“I cover a wide range of music, classic hits from the Beatles, CCR, Elton John, Neil Young, The Allman Bros., Elvis, Steely Dan, and many more – up to more current artists such as Amos Lee, Radiohead, U2, Ben Folds, Wilco, Oasis, The White Stripes and others. I generally try to gear my set around the crowd,” Ed told me.

There will be ice cream and my homemade German chocolate cake that evening.

I’m taking off the week of June 17 and will be busy baking, stringing party lights and getting things ready.

I’m not sending out many invitations so consider this yours! Miss Manners wouldn’t approve of such a casual way of inviting people to a party but Miss Manners had more time to prepare formal invites.

Please come. Take your lawn chairs and a covered dish if you’d like.

On Sunday, the 23rd, there will be a rosary procession and short walking pilgrimage at 2 p.m.