Tuesday was a day for ducks, but so was Friday, and despite the Thursday solstice, summer still seemed preoccupied elsewhere. (Joe Flood via Flickr)

On Thursday, the solstice occurred, a moment rich in myth and legend, and accepted as the start of summer. But the celebrated event did not stave off Friday’s rain, gray skies and rather cool 70-degree temperatures.

The languorous, luxuriant summer of dream and imagination, of blue skies heaped in fleecy clouds, obviously surrendered, if perhaps for only a single day, to meteorological reality.

At Reagan National Airport, where Washington’s official readings are made, the high of 77 came before 1 a.m. For most of the afternoon, the thermometer read an unsummer-like 70. More than a half-inch of rain fell.

Yet the day of the solstice is not just another day, without real meteorological meaning. It occurred at 6:07 a.m. Thursday, and marked the moment at which the sun reached the highest position of the year in our skies.

But just as there is no summer without the sun, many factors also affect our seasons. That great nuclear furnace 93 million miles off in space does not by itself create what we think of when we dream of a summer day.