Good Morning Sunshine!

How wonderful it is to watch the sunshine slowly transforming the nature into a paradise after a cold winter. Now it is a very pleasant summer time which is a blessing to all who look for sunshine.  Sunshine with a warm mist on the hills in the early dawn and the most beautiful effects of light and shade playing on the green pastures during the day and the golden sunbeams smiling over the seashores in the evening is a joyful festival to human eyes. Listening to the humming birds at the sunrise and watching the colourful butterflies fly off in their new beauty all around at the sunset is one of life’s most sweet moments in summer. I have a zest for life and a passion to pursue what I love?to feel the sunshine on my shoulders and to enjoy these lovely magical moments of life?! As the golden rays of the morning sun creeps through my eastern window to wake me up from my morning sleep, my first whisper on my lips would be "Good morning Sunshine!"

Summer in Heidelberg

Japan is the Land of the Rising Sun; New York City is the City that Never Sleeps and Norway is the Land of the Midnight Sun!  The northern half of Norway lies north of the Arctic Circle and, therefore, experiences the true phenomenon of the midnight sun having daylight throughout the night time hours.  So Northern Norway is known to the tourists as the "Land of the Midnight Sun". North of the Arctic Circle, the sun does not set between the middle of May and the end of July; conversely the sun does not rise between the middle of November and the end of January. On 21st June the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky and takes the most amount of time to cross the sky. So this is the longest day of the year and is called the ‘summer solstice’ which happens on 21st June.

Astronomers call this the start of summer and after this day, days start getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere but simultaneously the start of winter in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also the longest day of sunlight for places in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest day for cities south of the equator.

The clocks are advanced by one hour in the Spring Season to make the most of seasonal daylight.  Day light saving Time gives us the opportunity to enjoy sunny summer evenings by moving our clocks an hour forward in the spring. This is done in Europe from 01.00 GMT on the last Sunday in March until 01.00 GMT on the last Sunday in October each year except Iceland which observes GMT all year round. The U.S. begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. local time on the second Sunday in March and reverts to Standard Time at 2:00 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in November. The adoption of Daylight Saving Time is almost always rife with controversy. Most of the world (except for countries around the Equator) has implemented Day Light Saving time at one point or another and is being observed at different dates. Today, approximately 70 countries around the world utilize Daylight Saving Time in at least a portion of the c ountry.  Japan, India, and China are the only major industrialized countries that do not observe daylight saving time.  Equatorial and tropical countries (lower latitudes) generally do not observe Daylight Saving Time since the daylight hours are similar during every season and therefore, there is no advantage to moving clocks forward during the summer. 

Summer in Australia is from December to February and Christmas takes place at the height of summer in Australia whereas it is cold winter in Europe, North America, Canada, Antarctica as well as Asia and Far East during this part of the year. The summers in the Middle East are extremely hot and humid from May till September with temperatures rising up to 45?C while the summers in the Far East countries are moderate and pleasant. Summer in India begins from March and lasts until June when it is time for monsoon. The temperatures in the north rise as the vertical rays of the Sun reach the Tropic of Cancer. The hottest month for the western and southern regions of the country is April; for most of North India, it is May. Normally the temperature lies between 28?C to 45? C in summer but in certain parts of India during this season it has been recorded up to 50?C. When we reflect on summers in different continents we see the nature reacting in different but interesting ways with temperatures, weather, and sunshine!  Since almost all the earth’s energy comes from the sun, the amount of sunlight we receive plays a major role in determining weather, vegetation, animal life and the ways of people around the world.  It influences the clothes people wear, the types of homes they live in, the food they grow and eat, and even the types of sports they play. 

Enjoying the Open Air Summer Festival in Germany

Summer in Germany is beautiful, pretty temperate and hundreds of outdoor cafes and beer gardens are open for the season.  With a sunshine kiss people start their summer season activities zipping up their back-packs fully wrapped; are all set to go for camping, hiking, mountain biking, wandering, mountain climbing, boating etc discovering the joy, fun and harmony with the wind and the nature. The hike will pass through magnificent scenery, long mountain trails and beautiful forests finding many beautiful golden records of the nature and the attractive sights with lots of adventures now and then that one can never forget in life time and during the evening twilight so many lovely stories to share with friends by the campfire is the most beautiful time of the day.  Everywhere in the open wild nature there are camping sites in Germany where one can witness the wonders of the nature under the mantle of the blue summer skies and find the happiness of having sunshine on their shoulders!

Cycling is the most healthy and attractive summer season activity in Germany, not only an exercise for physical fitness but also a wonderful festival for human eyes, watching the trees and plants bending low with fruits and flowers which perform dances to the rhythm of the cool summer breeze, captivating the fantastic meadows and listening to the tunes of the quiet clear streams when one passes through the beautiful forests.  Germany has many rock-climbing areas meticulously marked and graded for all levels of climbers from beginners to advanced climbers.  One of the best opportunities one can avail in Germany is also mountaineering and rock-climbing in the summer months where one can enjoy the time climbing up the mountains and rocks step by step with the right equipments and safety clothing and as you reach the peak of the mountain or the rock one can have the satisfaction and experience of a overwhelming successful achievement of being on the top of the mountain!  It is a wonderful experience of standing on the mountain’s peak beneath the wide blue sky as the fleecy clouds are floating ornately limitless, one can have a glimpse of the entire world around is one of the most precious moments of life one can store in the summer memories!

The element of water has a fantastic refreshing effect on people during the warm summer which is tempting them to go for swimming, canoeing, boating, sailing and water skiing in their summer holidays. Germany is ideal for all kinds of water sports as there are many lakes and rivers.  Since the sea is close by, there are also beautiful sandy beaches and islands such as Sylt in the North Sea or R?gen in the Baltic Sea. The beaches in Germany are safe and you will find ideal conditions for a wide range of water sports and boating activities.  In case of rains, there are beautiful swimming pools which are the best amusement to take a refreshing dip in the water!  In Central and Southern Germany even though there are more heavy industries, along the rivers such as the Rhine, Mosel and Main, there are vineyards and forests with pine trees and deep valleys. In the South West corner of Germany is the well know Black Forest, a large hilly area covered with tall pines and dotted with small villages where people enjoy their summer holidays often.  The part of the Southern Germany is mainly rolling farm country and further South on the boarder of Austria some most famous castles are located and at the border is a series of lakes where the Alps Mountains of Europe also begin.  So Germany is one of the most beautiful countries in the world for a summer holiday.

Beautiful summer landscape of Germany’ sunny Countryside

Gardening is a great hobby and according to my heart it is the perfect amusement and pleasure of life exposing ourselves to the nature. Vegetable and Flower gardening is many people’s favorite form of gardening in Germany because you can actually taste the fruits of your labour and decorate your homes with your lovely flowers grown in your own garden.  Vegetable gardening is not that expensive to start if you have a small piece of land of your own around your home and the taste of home grown vegetables definitely beat out that of supermarket vegetables!  In Heidelberg where I live there are a few Mangalorean families and we all have a summer garden of our own.  It is a great fascination to grow "Indian Vegetables on German soil" and we grow variety of Mangalorean Vegetables like Thoushe (Cucumber), Kuvalo (Ash gourd), Boblem (White Pumpkin), Vaingem (Aubergine), Gosalem (Ridged gourd), Karethem (Bi tter gourd), Padvolim (Snake gourd), Konpirbajee (Coriander leaves), Girgee Mirsang (Hot Chillies!), etc.  But I always miss Jack Fruit, the biggest fruit in the world that grows in our homeland and also sweet Mangoes, Cashew and Papaya which grow just around the summer time in Mangalore.   
Summer is beautiful.  But the most beautiful and pleasing to my heart is the sweetest song of a bird in the cage coming from my neighbour’s balcony every day at the early dawn.  The cage confines the bird from the fields of air and sunshine and even though its wings are closely bound, it sings so sweetly when the sunrays creep into the cage.  I wish that the bird may fly to its freedom! But my dad says "the bird may have forgotten the techniques of survival! It has to be released back to its nature homeland and then alone it may be at liberty".  The song of sweetness of this bird is sounding like a tender pleading prayer to me at the early morning and I think that the confinement of the cage cannot control the joy of this bird of just being with the nature in spirit under her vast mantle of warmth, joy and sunshine!

Sharel Machado, Heidelberg, Germany

Author: Sharel Machado- Germany