Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Midnight sun

Date: June 20
Mileage: 39.4
June mileage: 452.7
Temperature upon departure: Warm enough for shorts ... 55

Watching the sun set out my bedroom window at 11:40 p.m., on the first mostly clear evening in weeks, on the second longest day of the year (reduced only by the sole second that solstice will add to the total daylight tomorrow.) In my neck of the woods, there is no actual midnight sun: by 12 a.m., it has already slipped just below the horizon, on that half-submerged arc that will keep twilight burning all hours of the night until the first sleep-deprived rays rise again at 4. Sure, you can't get a tan here at 2 a.m. (I know from personal experience that a 2 a.m. tan is a hard thing to obtain even north of the Arctic Circle, where clouds of mosquitoes tend to block out the sun.) But this is a latitude I can live with, the romantic allure of all-night daylight aside.

Not that a mere 20 hours of daylight is too shabby. Still, I think I've done a pretty good job of avoiding the new-Alaskan tendency to cram a million little activities into days that unavoidably still have the same number of hours. Part of this is because I lead an active winter lifestyle that garners as much satisfaction from snow and ice as it does from dirt and lupine. Also, I keep a pretty strict summer weekday schedule: Blurry-eyed awake by 6:30 to 7:30, work until 5 or 6, errands, one-to-three-hour bike ride ... sometimes four ... dinner at 10 or 11, shower, computer, with time to spare to stare wistfully out my bedroom window, watching the red glow that will never quite dissipate into the horizon and wondering where my day went.

At least I don't mow my lawn at 1 a.m.

But I could.