Eleven years ago, my husband and I spent late June in northern Norway. In particular, I remember a night in Trondheim, right around the solstice. The sky turned a deep blue around midnight, but it was never truly dark, and the sun was up by about 2 a.m. People responded as one might expect — with a sort of frenzied energy out on the streets as 10 p.m. was as light as afternoon.
Southeastern PA doesn’t have the same extremes as Scandinavia. But still, the days of long light have their own energy. I spent quite a bit of yesterday — the official start of summer — outside. The 2-year-old was up at 5:45 a.m., so after two episodes of Dora (taking us to 6:30) we went into the backyard. He climbed higher up a tree than I was comfortable with, and he tried to pull the hydrangeas off the bushes, but it was nicer than watching The Adventures of Chuck and Friends.
When G came at 8, I went for a longer run than I normally do during the week: 5.4 miles. By the end, the day had heated up quite a bit. Much of the rest of the day was filled with the normal work and kid stuff, but at 7:30 p.m., when I realized that my 7-year-old had been on the computer for hours, I suggested we go for a walk. He countered with a bike ride around a neighborhood loop. So we went, and it wound up being a supplemental run for me as I dashed to keep up with him. It was fun! We came home and my husband took the big kids in the pool until 9 p.m., as the sun was setting. With showers after, that meant a few people were late to bed, but that’s part of summer, I suppose.
The downside of the longest day is that now all the days will be shorter, until we reach those dark cold ones in December. But that’s Christmas, so each season has its own reasons for celebrating.
In other news: Another memory of that Norway trip… We hiked a very popular mountain trail on the first day it was open for the summer season. It was insane. Not only did we have to go up a rock scramble that was literally only a yard wide at times, plunging what seemed like miles down into the valleys, when we got to the summit, we got caught in a snowstorm. The trail was completely obscured. Fortunately, we met up with some Norwegian army guys who were hiking the trail while on leave, and they had a compass. We eventually found the trail down, but several of my fingers were frozen enough that they were stiff for days.
Photo: View of a little boy, far far ahead of me on his bike.