June 19 – Solstice Brings Changes

Here in Tucson it’s been humid, hot, monsoony, and definitely summer. Frances Billinghurst, a writer in New Zealand does seminars on the metaphysical and mystical aspects of the summer solstice. For me in the Northern Hemisphere it’s a time of greatest abundance of nature and the power of the sun. Frances, in the Southern Hemisphere, is going through a period of reflection. 

I’m definitely feeling the Northern Hemisphere abundance. Right now my glass is more than half full.

An Abundance of Changes

Life can be as changeable and unpredictable as the weather. Some changes have held the excitement of a happy rollercoaster ride. Seeing and hearing Ottmar Liebert with my friend Lori from the second row at our Rialto Theater. Experiencing the fulfillment of abundant health after a couple of years as a stroke recovery person. Traveling with my twin to Virginia to be a part of my great-nephew Ben’s high school graduation. Witnessing his combination of young adulthood poise and confidence as he looks to his future. Proud. Being around the exuberant energy of family and friends ranging in experience and ages from middle-teens to mid-eighties. Inspiring.

Some changes in 2024 made life feel like I was catapulting down a dark twistng rabbit hole. Hank and I deal with the death of Heather, his younger daughter, my stepdaughter, who lost a four-year struggle with cancer on March 29. Any death is a distinct, stinging reminder of other losses. I try to balance this with the comfort I find in our beautiful and safe home, knowing good health, the deep knowing of the love my husband and I share that soothes the sorrow of this loss. I know the support of friends and family that smooths the way for us for peace, harmony, and serenity. I know I have the wherewithal to grieve; to put my memories of Heather in that place in my heart reserved just for her. And we plan a Remembrance as a gift to Heather to honor her as a special person and mother to her son, our grandson.

June 29 –  A Mix of Summer Changes

The solstice days rolled by like a monsoon storm. Usually June in Tucson is hot and dry. But like my emotional roller coaster being unusually surprising this year, so were early June days. Rumbling thunder, building to a crescendo of strong winds and steady rain. Almost daily. Seemed a bit early for monsoon season.

Our summer solstice period has been thick with heat and humidity. The often used rationalization for surviving the heat of our wonderful state is, “Yes, but it’s a dry heat.” 

Well, not when the monsoons come rolling in, bringing over half of our average annual rainfall  (11.16 in). We recently had what we refer to as “a really great monsoon storm“ delivering between 1-2 inches of rain. I found myself standing quite still by my office window watching the drops pelt against the glass, thinking Why am I  surprised at this weather? This can happen every year.



I am just as surprised, holding my breath, stunned into stillness when a death comes. “”How sad.” “Too soon.” “It isn’t supposed to happen this way.” Yet I have seen it happen, more than once, even more than twice. I know death comes. It is the unfairness of some losses that stun me for weeks, or more, before my breath comes easier.  


The thunder is fading in the distance now. It’s getting brighter out and … look out there … there’s an expanding patch of blue. Breathe.

The seasons of a year bring weather changes, just as changes happen in life.






Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and her writing life. She retired after 30 years of teaching, and semi-retired from coaching, and professional editing. Founder of the Eastside Writing Room based in Tucson AZ, she’s posted 100s of blogs, and is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. These days she writes to inspire, to connect with folks, teaching about the power of words, gather writers together, and for the pure enjoyment of it. Ethel enjoys speaking and storytelling at Odyssey Storytelling, Artists Standing Strong Together, Center for Spiritual Living Tucson, and anywhere there’s a mic or a Zoom room.