Here’s a photo from an after dinner walk in Fairbanks, Alaska. It was about 10 p.m., the day after the city’s summer solstice festival. Maybe it was a little later, the time settings on my camera were messed up, and my internal sense of time was also not completely functional.
I’d been in Alaska for just over a week, and I felt positively harassed by all the sunlight. It was light when I woke up, and no matter how late I went to sleep, it was maybe starting to get a little bluish outside. My hotel, The Bridgewater, had excellent blackout curtains, but when I pulled them shut I felt like an eight year getting sent to bed when the grownups were just about to get interesting.
I like night. I like dark and stars and the need to turn on the lights. I missed night.
All that sunlight made me increasingly cranky as the trip continued. It was the cumulative effect of not seeing a true night, yes, but it was also that the days were getting longer as a I traveled northward. I’d started in Juneau which was getting about 18 hours of daylight, while Fairbanks was getting somewhere around 21 hours and 49 minutes of daylight when I arrived.
I thought longingly of a trip I’d taken to Nome in January a few years earlier. There’d been about five hours of day light, and it snowed and hailed during each of those five hours. And that suited me just fine.
Alison J. Stein
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