Last updated: June 20, 2016
The sun begins to set over the VTTS at 11 p.m. Photo by Scott Chandler.
Twenty three hours of sunlight. For this desert boy, twenty three hours is an unfathomable amount of time for the sun to barrage Earth with its rays. The landscape should melt under that much light. A few hundred miles to the north of Katmai National Park, the day will have no respite from the sun. I often joke of how in summer I retreat to the mountains to escape the power of the sun. And yet here I am, anxiously waiting to celebrate the longest day of the year.
Humanity has a long tradition of worshiping the sun. People from Alaska to Egypt and everywhere across the world once had a strong connection to it. As time has moved on, and our understanding of the sun has changed, we still cannot help but respect the mighty Sol. Its gravity holds us in check at the perfect distance, giving us just enough light to allow water to remain a liquid and sustain life.
I have never experienced a land where the life force of the sun is more apparent than here in Katmai. While those of us from different climates complain of too much sunlight, actively combatting its force for a good portion of the year, the long days here are an obvious blessing. In the short time I have been in Katmai, I have watched this ecosystem blossom into life. Glorious greens abound, insects swarm, fish leap and bears eat - all in a mad dash to take advantage of the limited time frame that the sun can provide enough light to make this area livable.
Sunlight illuminates lupins on Mt. Katolinat. Photo by Scott Chandler.
So walk outside and look at what is around you. The summer solstice provides an opportunity to witness the full extent of the sun's glory. While some will battle and scorn it, the solstice is the perfect day to connect back with our roots, and take some time to worship the sun.