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.