Forty years ago in 1967 the 'Summer of Love' was officially launched, some say, on Solstice, June 21, the longest day of the year.

I was an 11th grader in Yakima at the time.

While adventurous teenagers were hitchhiking west to the corner of Haight and Ashbury with three dollars in their pockets, the biggest fling my buds and I could conceive of was a weekend, on our own, catching Shakespeare in Ashland.

We camped at a lake just southeast of town and stayed up talking and watching the stars. The Milky Way floated above us like a huge illuminated ribbon. We speculated on which stars, whose light was just reaching us, were already stone cold dead.

A late night, teenager sort of chat.

Now, according to Timothy Ferris, author of both the book and the documentary Seeing in the Dark, "The average human's view of our own galaxy has deteriorated to the point that only one in five persons alive today has ever seen the Milky Way."

Light pollution is the main culprit that has taken away our view of where we are in our galaxy. (I wonder how many of our kids have seen the Milky Way and understand that we're looking at ourselves sideways through our Frisbee-shaped swirl of stars?)

With no moon, away from those awful unhooded vapor lights, and a clear night sky, we can still beat the odds on the peninsula.

Let's keep it that way.

June 21 is the day when the earth tips on its axis and the sun shines to its northern most point, producing 24 hours of daylight north of the Arctic Circle and 24 hours of darkness south of the Antarctic Circle. On summer solstice, the sun's rays are directly over the Tropic of Cancer, latitude 23.5° north, passing through Mexico, Saharan Africa and India.

Summer solstice is also the beginning of winter in the southern hemisphere and ... by gosh if we didn't actually get our first day of summer.

Wasn't it glorious?

A few of us gardeners were out in the pea-patch garden behind Jimella's Seafood Market Saturday and had to put on sunscreen and wipe the mold off our garden hats.

The garden plots are alive with radishes, cukes, carrots, pumpkins, peas, beans, acorn squash, sunflowers, onions, garlic, chard, lettuce, broccoli and cabbage. A few brave souls even planted tomatoes.

Several of us pea-patchers are letting some of last year's crops go to seed.

Gail Accuardi, one of our star garden gurus and 'founder' of the market pea-patch, writes from Portland, "Allowing crops to bolt provides a steady food source for the bees. Bees do not see red (the red poppy has iridescent color on its petals so it is seen) but are attracted to blue, purple, violet, white and yellow. And they like flowers of different shapes, since the bees are different shapes!"

"Our native bees are small, black and iridescent and not at all like the bees I know. For us in Oregon, with wet and cool springs, these are the worker bees that pollinate our pears, apples, plums and cherries. Honey bees do not go out of their hives unless it is 60 degrees."

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

With 70-plus degree weather, many of us did venture out of our hives just in time for 27th Annual Northwest Garlic Festival this weekend. The weather was superb. The music was the usual eclectic mix. And, of course, the elephant ears were de rigueur.

The Camp Victory booth had pennants flying and did a brisk business. Peninsula Arts Association had a booth with many fine samples of local arts and crafts. There were all manner of items for sale from plants, to whirligigs, to hand-carved Hawaiian fishing hooks. There were even a few garlic-related items: the Garlic Gourmay is a long-time favorite, producing condiments, seasoning, sauces and dips. And the famous Clove Brothers were on hand for photos and for general hanging out under the sun.

A few community notes. The Boys and Girls Club of the Long Beach Peninsula has passed a major milestone and will soon be announcing the hiring of their first Executive Director Debbie Coppenger.

Coppenger has been involved with the Benton Habitat for Humanity as well as the Salvation Army Greenhouse, a drop-in center in Portland for youth at risk.

She has also served as executive director of Operation Nightwatch, an ecumenical ministry providing hope and healing to the socially isolated street population of downtown Portland since 1981.

Welcome to the Peninsula, Debbie.

And our indomitable historian, Sydney Stevens, announced a current cultural event that sounds like a must attend - a free concert at the Oysterville Church on Saturday, June 28 at 7 p.m.

The vocalist is Espy Foundation resident for the month of June, Joyce Parry Moore, who will be singing selections from Puccini, Mozart, Schumann, Gershwin, Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hammerstein, accompanied by our own local treasure, Barbara Bate.

Joyce will also be talking about her experiences as a singer and actor in New York and Alaska and about her current project as an Espy Foundation Artist-in-Residence.

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