The longest day of the year

I love long days. I love the lingering twilight, the glowing sky long past bedtime. Coming from more southern latitudes, these long days of summer are more a source of wonderment than they are to the locals, and the locals like them plenty. It seems like only yesterday I was remarking with joy that it was still light at 5 p.m. “Summer’s right around the corner!” I proclaimed to Andrea with joy. We were only a month past the solstice, but in my mind we were crashing into summer at a fantastic rate. fuego confirmed it – on the call sheets for Turkey Pot Pie (also known as Hostel), he included the time of sunrise each day. Throught the heart of shooting sunrise was minutes earlier each day.

Today we reached the top of that ride. It was a beautiful day here in Prague; the sun came out for the big show, reminding us all why we are alive. (We can’t help it.) I walked the city today, Old Town, New Town (new, in this case, being relative), and parts beyond. Now I am back at the little café near home, my little corner just south of the big west-facing window not sheltering me from the glare. Luckily an apartment complex across the street is about to give me some relief, and there are some clouds low on the horizon. Had you asked me three months ago, I would have told you it was impossible for the sun to set behind that building. Good thing you didn’t ask.

So it’s been a glorious day, and it’s not over yet. That’s the point. But just as when I was at the bottom of the curve, in the depths of winter, I felt the upsweep, now I feel the bottom dropping out. Today is the longest day. Tomorrow will be shorter. I feel I should have done more with the day, because there won’t be another one like this for a year. It leads to an odd paradox. When times are bad, the ability to look forward and live for the future is a blessing. That same vision, when things are good, is a curse. To know the future is what it means to be human.

One thing I do miss…

It’s mid-summer in San Diego. The air is balmy and the sea breeze is blowing gently through Petco park. There is a special section out in the bleachers for people to bring their dogs, and people to watch over your best friend while you go for a beer. The fish tacos are even better at the park, and the beer is allegedly less overpriced there than at other Major League venues. (The last I find hard to believe.)

The Padres are in first place in their division, because they are almost unbeatable at home. The first year in the new park there was a lot of whining from Padre’s hitters, but this year I don’t think you’ll be hearing any complaints.

Yesterday, a lovely Monday, the park was filled to 98% capacity for the first game of a series against the evil Los Angeles Dodgers. Jake Peavy was on the mound for the good guys – he had been held back a day in the rotation so he could pitch against the division rivals. I suspect very few teams (St. Louis doesn’t count – they’re just nuts there) are getting that kind of turnout at this point in the season.

And pitch Jake did. He allowed two hits and no runs over eight innings. He was crafty, using change-ups more than usual, and had the Dodgers drilling themselves into the ground, cartoon-style. The crowd, I read, was going nuts for the entire game.

Peavey needed every bit of that craft as well. The other pitcher was also in fine form, and when the dust cleared the Padres were the winners, 1-0. The Padres are winning the close games so far this year. I love those games. One little slip is the difference between victory and defeat. One hanging curve ball, one bad throw to first, and that’s it. The fans feel it, too, and celebrate every strikeout and good defensive play. Those are great days to be at the park.