Summer Solstice is pulling its usual trick of not letting the sun actually shine through. It was sunny last night as the actual moment of Solstice hit, but today, on Friday, when people who work can actually stay up and play through the shortest nights of the year, the sun has done a runner on us. Or rather, it's called in the thick, gray cloud cover.
So, Happy Summer, Alaska. It's business as usual here!
It's a bittersweet celebration. Those of us who love the light and accept the winter's darkness as the price to pay for all this lovely brightness, are sad that the planet has now turned the corner and the northern hemisphere will now start slowly sliding further away from the sun.
When I lived "Outside" solstice, winter or summer, never really crossed my consciousness. Up here it is far more noticeable and as people who live half the year in boots and coats, we revere the sun.
We love the long summer days, although we can live without the mosquitoes, and we use the time to get out and play. Windows and doors are thrown open, houses and heads are aired out. Gardens are grown either for show or food or both. Dogs are walked, people exercise outside, time is spent on decks burning offerings to the gods of summer. Lakes are popular spots for swimming, fishing, boating and all manner of water play. The canoeists shake their paddles at the jet-skiers and campers listen for the call of loons drift hauntingly across the water.
This is when I miss the cabin we used to own about a thousand years ago. It sat on a hill above the lake and from there we watched wild life cross a narrow channel from one side of the lake to the other. Moose, bear, muskrats and all manner of creatures used the same trail. The tall birch trees would filter the sunlight creating dappled shade and the leaves rustling in a gentle breeze played a lazy song. We'd sit by the firepit on the edge of the lake, telling stories, arguing politics and catch up on life with friends far into the night. Good days.
So however you celebrate the turning of the season, the official end of Spring and start of Summer, take time to relax and enjoy the day. Have a beer or iced tea with a friend or loved one. Grill a burger or two and remember to sacrifice one to the spirit of summers past, present, and future.
Remember to live and enjoy the warmth and ease of summer. Before you know it the sun will be setting before 10pm and you'll begin to wonder where summer went.