A sunset at 2 a.m. over Kotzebue Sound. Courtesy Land of the Midnight Sun

I always get questions about sunlight when I tell people I’m from Alaska. I have my typical spiel about our vast state, and how it’s different depending on the latitude. In Southcentral we must squeeze the most out of a meager five hours of sunlight in the depths of winter. But come summer, it’s light all day. The sun still sinks behind the mountains, but there’s enough light to function.

Occasionally, someone will ask me how I sleep, and I explain that I’m conditioned. As a kid my mom would open our shades sometime in April and wouldn’t let us close them until fall. Sleeping through the midnight sun just became a way of life. But there’s not much sleeping this time of year anyway. Every Alaskan who just suffered months of darkness knows that winter is coming, and they’re determined to make the most of it.

June is for baseball games that start at midnight. And frisbee golf with friends until 2 a.m. It’s for camping trips and hiking and fishing and boating. Major cities like Anchorage and Fairbanks hold solstice festivals. So do small towns like Moose Pass and Seldovia.

Sometimes I think Alaskans know how to do summer better than anyone else because we know its value. We know that it’s short, but sweet. Long nights are just around the corner, so we need to enjoy the sunshine while it’s here.

Solstice from STURGEFILM on Vimeo.


Alexander Deedy formerly worked as the assistant editor and digital content manager for Alaska magazine.

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