I have a long standing love/hate relationship with Summer Solstice.
Living in Alaska, we have a habit of celebrating this day of longest possible daylight in the proverbial “land of the midnight sun” with parties, midnight BBQ’s, all-night baseball games … pretty much everything except possibly fireworks.
With a full 22 hours of functional daylight (in south-central Alaska, where I live), followed by a half-hearted dusk and then dawn again in quick succession, fireworks would be pretty lackluster. Also a fire danger.
Yes, Summer Solstice is the official start of summer. Yes, if I chose to, I could head outside right now, at 10:30 pm, and go for a drive with little need for headlights other than obeying the letter of the law.
The sky is still summer blue between the clouds as I type this, and the mountains across the valley still clearly visible. Summer in Alaska is truly amazing, and I DO love it.
I still remember one late June night, just a year or two after moving to Alaska. I was driving home from Anchorage at 2:00 am, the middle of the night, after picking up a new baby Pygmy goat at the airport. I was gritty-eyed from lack of sleep – and still marveling that dawn was already well advanced. I’ve never lost that sense of marvel.
But I also find it to be the oddest sensation. It’s daylight outside, and yet the silence is almost deafening. Standing outside in my yard, I realize the birdsong is missing. They’ve all been smart enough to go to bed.
I suppose I should follow their lead.
For me, much as I enjoy summer; Summer Solstice itself means only one thing. Tomorrow, we begin the slow but inevitable slide back towards darkness.