Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mid-summer Nights

Mid-summer nights are spectacular here in interior Alaska. The sun is up till near midnight. The air is warm and balmy. We are surrounded by mid-summer green. Just a few weeks ago the dominating color of the woods was a light spring green. The ground went from brown to buds and new leaves, then not a week later I saw the first bluebell, dandelion and blooming rose. Now the bluebells and wild roses are in full bloom, as are the dandelions, spirea, labrador and all kinds of little ground cover plants covered with white flowers. The fireweed will start blooming soon and by the time it is done we will be seeing fall colors. If we are lucky we will have six more weeks of bright to dark green before the first yellow leaf is spotted. By then the evenings will come upon us with growing darkness, taking us by surprise. Midsummer is fleeting.

I have no trouble sleeping to the daylight, (I have spent four of the last ten summers sleeping in a tent - and that is a lovely way to make the most of summer nights). I do however, have a hard time coming inside when it is so beautiful outside. I also have a hard time sending myself to bed. After my family is in bed for the night I feel like I should be heading back up to the garden, visiting with the goats or strolling through the woods picking rose petals. Yet after spending a day outside, walking kids up down and around, well I've been sitting on the couch working my way through the third season of Robin Hood. From our west facing couch I have been admiring our long sunsets during which the sun seems to linger for hours above the horizon.This time of year the sun shines on our property from eight in the morning till sunset, about fifteen hours of direct sun and I cannot get enough of it.

Our summers are short and our winters long. Most locals I know savor the warm weather and the long daylight hours. We spend as much time outside as possible. The weather forecast is on everyone's mind, is it going to stay this nice? Is our lovely perfect summer to be flawed by smoke from nearby forest fires? We need enough rain for the garden and to put out the fires, but then we get one rainy day and panic. We have so many hopes and expectations of our fleeting summers. I believe we are getting around twenty-one hours and twenty-four minutes of daylight - at least yesterday we did. When I think of summer time it is these perfect summer nights I recall, and yet I know in reality there are really only a handful of these perfect nights. If I could just hang on somehow, hold my breath, close my eyes, make time stand still...I would never tire of our midsummer nights.


Lisa said...

thats a beautiful post!

Anonymous said...

I always feel the pull to make the most of my time too and resist heading to bed when I probably should, especially when the weather is nice. I can only imagine what that's like with winters longer than the ones we have here, but I hope you enjoy it as much as possible.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

What a great post! And for the record - I am extremely jealous of your warm weather.

Your description of the sun-drenched landscape is beautiful...thanks.

Anonymous said...

Just found this comment section, otherwise I would've used it long ago. I relate to your last few posts and feel like I am running an endurance marathon, trying to beat the summer sun! We picked our first radishes yesterday and will get four or five greens this week. Hugs! Ginger

Emily said...

Lisa, thanks :)
urbanadaptation, I never feel ready for fall or winter, but once it is here I enjoy it. I seem to soak up enough summer sun to get me through January, and by then our sun starts coming back.

Throwback, For the record, I should say warm for us is seventies. Hopefully July will bring some eighties and nineties, but that is hot for us. I am envious of many aspects of your location, lush green pasture, happy fat cows, living a sustainable farm life and yet having the convenience of a big city nearby. I lived in Salem OR for a year and made it through a rainy overcast winter. I enjoy a good rainy day when the sun comes out the next day.

Ginger, it is a lovely time of year when radishes and greens bring such excitement. Looking forward to seeing you guys on one of these sunny summer afternoons.