This is my first summer to live in Alaska so its a learning experience. My circadian rhythms have lost their rhythm sadly. It’s just never dark here. They have baseball at midnight because they can and that’s with no lights. It’s that bright. I’ve been up at 12:30 am and 2:30 am and other odd times over this month and its never dark. Since it’s encoded into my nature to be awake during daylight hours, this is playing havoc with sleeping. I find that I have to constantly remind myself that it’s time to get ready for bed despite the fact that it’s nearly eleven and the sun just recently set.
It’s little comfort to realize that this is what my daughter goes through in December when it’s almost always dark, but even then, we have about four hours of daylight. I thought it would be the same during the summer. But, no, no, it’s not. Dark just doesn’t happen right now. Add to that, a record-breaking heat wave done without air conditioning and you’ve got a fairly good idea of what my summer is like. Happily, like all heat waves do, this one moved on and the weather became more reasonable.
Alaska, like California, has been plagued by forest fires this summer with more than 300 fires already and three million acres burning but few structures lost. Firefighters work at containment for the most part. The attitude here is let it burn. The fires are primarily started by lightning and the dryness makes fuel plentiful. A few people have lost their homes, but the community rallied around them easing the loss as best they can.
There is good news since we have now passed the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. The days will be getting shorter and we’ll follow the countdown of daylight as the measure of hours diminishes until once again darkness will rule. Here, the circle of days is skewed into an oval.