It is six months since I started blogging, and I am thoroughly enjoying spending this time putting my attention into not only noticing but also trying to convey some of the wonder, pleasure and privilege of life here on this part of the planet.  My first post was at the time of the winter solstice.  I thought it would be fun to celebrate the six month anniversary - the summer solstice.  We have travelled from the shortest to the longest day here.  I have a bit of trouble picturing it, but the earth is at a tilt in relation to the plane of our solar system and our star - the sun - and so there are differing amounts of sunlight reaching different regions of the earth through the annual orbit around the sun.  An image that captures the figure of eight path of the sun relative to a location on earth over an entire year is called an analemma, and the National Geographic website shows some of these rare images:  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/12/photogalleries/101228-sun-end-year-analemmas-solstice-eclipse-pictures/#/year-in-picture-analemma-sun-path-first_30693_600x450.jpg  

Well, I couldn't think of how I would convey the idea of summer solstice much better than with the lovely blue skies of a clear sunny day and the rich crimson blooms of pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa), which have been out in abundance.  There was even a waxing half moon - the moon in its first quarter.

While images of pohutukawa in bloom are a bit of a cliche here when used to represent summer or Christmas, they are always a welcome sight, as if the rather elegantly understated pohutukawa trees are bursting in a joyous celebration.