All the Light We Cannot Spend: Summer Solstice, 2019

What did you do on the summer solstice, when the sun stayed up past its own bedtime? (Here, just before midnight)

We have 22 hours of light right now. But so sadly—-our solstice celebration was swallowed by fog and rain, utterly. Here it comes, the massive fog bank that moved in yesterday, swallowing the sun and every bright thought . ..

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But the work goes on. (My daughter and Aaron, still honeymooning as they work among nets, fish and kelp.)

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And this is one way to make sun even in the rain. [Step aside “American Gothic!”


When the sun comes back, I will have more than I can use. It is hard to sleep these days that won’t end. I wear double eye masks and pull down blackout curtains, as if warding off bad luck. As if hiding from danger.

The sun IS dangerous. It lights creation with such flames of love I cannot sleep, I cannot stop. I want to gather berries and rose petals, I want to go out on the ocean and pick fish all night long. I want to climb our mountain, name every flower, watch the eagles, pull rhubarb, smoke fish, gather bouquets of wild iris, follow the sparrows and nuthatches.


And I want to work. I want to paint the buildings that need painting, dig our over-wintered potatoes, plant more potatoes, can salmon and jar whole shelves of jam and jelly.


I need to do all this, and likely I will. This is the Alaskan way, to work until midnight, to power through on light alone, knowing how soon winter’s dark shadow will fall. Knowing how our bodies turn to slugs in the dark.

We’re solar-powered most of us. But I confess----I am tired. I worried the sun will not return. The fog and rain can last a long long time. And winter is coming and we are soon losing  4 – 5 minutes of light each day. Who can sleep knowing summer will end in two months? Who on a rainy island can waste uminous radiant grace while its here?

(Do you do this too? In the midst of such summer opulence are you too already counting its loss? )

But here’s what’s truly true: Grace comes a thousand ways  and this light is only one. (Click to Tweet) The flowers and the fish are only two and three, but God has millions of graces yet to come. Graces that come in the colors of the fall, in the dark, in the night, in the fog and rain, even in the coming winter storms. )


But Do we think God’s going to run out of goodness? Do we think his mercies come only through the summer sun? I know His dark mercies too that come new every winter. That come new every sorrow, every disappointment. That come new every single night.

(That came new last week. This matter I cannot talk about is now international news, yet it is personal and it won’t be resolved for years. SO much heartbreak here . .. yet believing God will somehow rescue through it all . . )

Forgive the poetry here. I mean these words, written with a tired, half-broken heart. Maybe I can rest today. Maybe in the middle of this burning day and night I can lay it down; maybe in the middle of this brilliant day I can lay him down---my tiny made-up god who loves only light, who fears the night, who cannot give without taking something else away. I am choosing to believe

Our God never runs out of graces

                     Even as the lace of light slips away . . . 

Do you know this too? Can you share a time when God appeared in the midst of the dark?