Our local public radio station includes in its weather reports how much daylight we have each day. From winter solstice to summer solstice, the announcer says something like, “Sunrise today was at 7:22 a.m., and sunset will be at 8:46 p.m., for a total of 13 hours, 23 minutes of daylight, a gain of 5 minutes, 44 seconds from yesterday.” From summer solstice to winter solstice the report ends abruptly after telling us the amount of daylight. No mention of how much light we’ve lost.
Alaskans love summer solstice. We celebrate the sun, because we know, literally in our bones, how its absence feels.
But for me, summer solstice is bittersweet. I love the upswing of the light that begins in December, the surge of new life in spring. It’s hard for me to celebrate summer solstice when I know we’ve begun the long slide toward the cold dark of winter. Summer in Alaska is busy and short, and autumn is even shorter.
A fellow Alaskan UU blogger has a different take on the summer solstice on her blog today. Influenced by her interests in Buddhism and Paganism, she writes, “This day reminds me to savor every sweet and wonderful thing I see without begrudging its eventual loss.” A lovely lesson, and a worthy goal.