Happy Summer Solstice . . . from the Land of the Midnight Sun

Here was the view from my Writer’s Window on June 5th, just two weeks ago. It may not seem that unusual or spectacular, but it was taken at 11:00 PM! We were in Alaska, crossing off one of our bucket-list items. It’s a bit disorienting to look out your window that late and outside it appears to be noon. Fairbanks was over 21 hours of daylight every day, heading toward today when they’d be at about 24 hours. It never really gets dark during this time, just more ‘dusk-like.’

Listening to several native Alaskans, it was obvious they love these long days. One of them, one of our bus drivers, told us that on June 21st it’s like a big party in Fairbanks. There are midnight picnics and a midnight ballgame in the park.

Our morning waitress, Anne, told us about her garden. “We only have 12 weeks of growing, but since the sun never really goes down, the plants are constantly being fed. It’s a short growing season but a compacted one.” And she laughed when she talked about the cook-outs, weddings, and other gatherings filling the calendar because everyone had the same 12 weekends to get things done. “There’s always some place to go.”

Starting the 22nd the Alaskans in this area will lose about 6 minutes of daylight each day as we slowly turn toward the winter solstice. At that time the sun never really rises much above the horizon. Those we talked to loved that time as well. But tonight at 9:00 as I write this, people in Fairbanks are just settling down for that first taste of smoked salmon, caribou burgers and whatever else may be in those picnic coolers, and waiting for the Summer Solstice games to begin.

Next week I’ll write more about the vast, pristine beauty of Alaska and of course the people – because that’s where the stories are.

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4 Responses to Happy Summer Solstice . . . from the Land of the Midnight Sun

  1. Enjoy! We toured Alaska in 2009. Loved it. I do recall trying to go to sleep in broad daylight. That was truly weird.

  2. I can only imagine how much bigger the glaciers were 9 years ago. I didn’t have trouble falling asleep, but it felt weird just knowing it was late and not looking like it. We couldn’t get over just how vast the state is. Truly beautiful.

  3. Roxie says:

    wow, Kim, happy summer from your writer’s view – oh I imagine it was glorious! love the details, especially about things we never consider. as a gardener, i can’t wrap my mind around a short season like that, boggling! then add in sleeping while the sun is up, how twisted around I’d be!
    hope you took loads of pictures and are amazingly inspired!

  4. Hi Roxanne, Alaska is absolutely glorious. I’d never thought about the gardening aspect either, but one woman said vegetables get huge because of all the sunlight. when we were there the flowers were in bloom and flowers everywhere. We saw some fiddleback fern just popping out and the guide said by the end of summer they’ll be 6 ft. tall. Unbelievable. And I did get a ‘few’ pics 😉 Will be sharing a small selection over the coming week.

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