Monday, April 22, 2013

So Much Daylight!

According to the US Naval Observatory (, on this day the sun rose at 5:29 a.m. in Homer and will set at 20:42 or 8:42 p.m., which is nearly 15 hours of daylight, not including dawn and dusk.  I don't need any website to tell me that things are changing--fast!  Day by day, it is lighter out at night when I go to bed and bright enough in the mornings we don't need to turn on lights.  I really appreciate those blackout blinds at this time of year (now until September) as I need some sort of signal that it is time to go to bed!  Before we had blackout blinds installed in our bedroom, I would often get up at 5:30 a.m. in the summer and easily be going until midnight.  When the sun is streaming into the room at 5:30 and if you didn't look at the clock you would think it is 10:30--the sleep cycles get all messed up!

The lethargy of winter gives way to a hyperactivity from here on out.  Just as plants in Alaska sprout, bloom and die at a frenetic pace, so people seem to try to pack as much life and living into the 5 months of daylight.    Last night at 9 p.m. Denver was bouncing around the house with too much energy so we told him to go out biking for an hour.  Then we looked at the clock and realized he was supposed to be in bed in an hour.  Whoops!  We had no clue what time it was because it was so bright.  We make jokes in Homer about mowing our lawns at 11 p.m. in the summer because it's so light out and we really don't know what time it is.  People are out and about doing all the things people do--just later.

There are advantages to all this light:  flashlights aren't something we worry about having when we go camping in the summer.  Electricity bills go down substantially as the lights are hardly ever on in the house and the outdoor lights are not needed either.  We can go for walks or hikes very early or late and be able to see the wildlife around us.  Our lives become dictated by rhythms other than light.

What I miss most about having long days is that soon the stars will disappear and we won't see them again until September.  I have wonderful memories of laying out on the lawn on summer nights watching for shooting stars streaking by and satellites blinking their way across the sky.  If we had fireflies up here, I would miss that too as they would just seem like hovering bugs rather than lightning bugs.  Fourth of July fireworks are shifted to New Years Eve fireworks for the same reason:  it just doesn't get dark enough for an awesome effect.  And huddling around a campfire when it is dark out is so much more cozy than huddling around one in the light.  So there are tradeoffs to these long days of light.

I'll admit, I am already counting down to summer solstice when the days will start getting shorter.  Two months to go of gloriously long, long days!  It is so worth it when the days are sunny, and it makes up for the dark winters that sometimes feel like endless night.

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