Monday, December 21, 2009

What Alaskans Celebrate on this Day!

December 21 just marks the first day of winter for most people in the United States. And yes, I know, the days are shorter all over the northern hemisphere. But this day in Alaska brings a great sigh of relief for many!! On this day we will have only 3 hours and 43 minutes of daylight!!! Winter Solstice!!! Fairbanks is only about 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle, so that daylight that I speak of, is only partial daylight. Basically, when the sun shines here, it looks like the sun is trying to rise and just can't make it up over the horizon. Sun glasses, believe it or not, can be an essential here in the winter time, because when the sun is out, it's always in your eyes!

Me, I don't mind the darkness so much. It brings with it a slow and enjoyable pace of life. Lots of evenings spent indoors with friends and family, visiting and playing games. Yes, it's cold outside, but inside, it's cozy, warm and full of life with those you love. When summer rolls around, the pace here is nonstop and while I enjoy the beautiful weather....all of that sun makes it hard to sleep. You go to a friends house for dinner and the next thing you know, it's midnight and you've failed to check the time....because the sun is still there!!! Talk about tiring!

We won't have any "real" sunshine for a while, so I'll enjoy the dark while it lasts. The boys will continue to walk to school in the morning with headlamps on for a while and I'll pick them up as the sun is setting for a while yet. By the end of January, our days will be noticeably longer and then in March when the spring equinox hits, we'll gain light as quickly as we lost it after the fall equinox. Then summer solstice, and then we start the cycle all over again. Alaska is truly a place that lives and breathes in accordance with the sun and the seasons. It's amazing!


Nicole said...

This is just so neat! It would be something amazing just to experience!

I read your post to my 12 year old Kailyn and she thought that it was pretty funny that your boys need to wear headlamps to walk to school!

Hope the sun keeps shinning bright for you and your family way up there in the North!! :)

Wendy said...

WOW!!!! That's so cool...I LOVE hearing about this stuff :)

I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to see a pic of your boys wearing their headlamps.

LOVE IT!!!! Post lots of pics...of whatever...I love pictures :)

Curly said...

Sounds amazing, but I don't know if I could handle it. Southern girls need the sun, all the time. To each their own and Merry Christmas!

Rocksee said...

honestly, I thought it'd be worse.. and longer.. but it hasn't been bad. It's nice because you have to just learn to go on with your life even though it's dark and cold outside.. and you really treasure it when it's light. Just one more thing I took for granted before.

Love you guys!

Ps: I have X-Mas presents for the kiddos... and I need to come get my PC~!

Hallie said...

I love hearing about Alaskan life! It is so different than anything I know! Would love to see it for myself- bit I don't know If I could take the cold! Hats off to you!

Meri said...

I am fascinated! What a cozy picture of you all.

I'm with everyone else...headlamps to walk to school...can you even fathom how crazy that is for a California girl to hear!!!????

phonelady said...

wow i knew there was a reason to want to visit alaska i would love too . I m sorry the boys have to wear head lamps and hopefully sun will be here before you know .

:) Tracie said...

That's the kinda stuff we study about in school....solstice, equinox, etc.. But to actually know someone who lives it....SO COOL!! Although I can't imagine that, it's beyond me. It would throw me for a loop!

Little miner boys walking to school, walking to night. (done in my best Spongebob voice)

LakeLady said...

Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family.