The approach of mid summer.

We are approaching midsummer, the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. We are in the Shetland Simmer Dim – my first fully experienced one here and it is a rare experience. June is the time of year where we are graced with a light until after midnight although the sun sets at around 10:30pm.  The evenings are some kind of twilight, a half light in which you can still see everything even at 1am. From the bed, I look out to sea where the twilight meets the sun rise at around 3:30am.  Together, these joining lights and the calmness of the evenings full of bird song are recognisable only as Shetland.   

For a few short weeks, Simmer Dim means that there is no true darkness at all, which I am accepting as the flip side of the coin of Winter whereupon it is daylight between 9am and 3pm and if it is a bad day, there is no true daylight at all – just a greyness.

In June, time is like a breath.  It feels as if the world held its breath so long that now, there is an opportunity for a gentle exhale.  

The Summer light in which we are living by here in Shetland, brings us out from hibernation. I have become lighter with the lightness fo the weather. The plants grow at a speedy rate, pushed on by the long days. The cats lounge outside rolling around in the dust. Finally, the winds have slowed.  

I find myself wallpapering at 11pm because it feels like early evening then I’m awake by 4:30am because of the fully sun lit day light. The cats think it is breakfast time, I’m up, dressed, out and down on the beach by 7am before work. I feel tired because I’m doing so much but it is not an exhausted tired.  It’s a fulfilled tired of living a long full day, Then, I am aware that on 21st June, the days will begin to grow shorter, slowly at first then gather speed.   I don’t even want to think about it.

I was hoping a friend would be here on Summer Solstice but I am not sure, so, I will mark the day in some special way – by doing something I hardly do anymore, camping or swimming in the sea, or just by sitting out and listening to the world – not knitting, or writing – just sitting and marvelling at this special place where the season of Summer rewards our waiting.  Maybe I’ll do all three.

Author: traceydoxeydesigns

Site specific Artist using own created textiles, laser cuts and hand block printed wallpaper to engage with narratives of landscapes, social history and place.

4 thoughts on “The approach of mid summer.”

  1. Although I live the seasons out, each one different than the next, and accept them, the exaggerated seasonal light in Shetland seems dreamlike in your descriptions. I totally understand the light urging you on to do more, make hay while the sun shines, so to speak, as it knows the time of darkness and rest will come. Enjoy this wonderful journey, you were meant for this♥️ xo


  2. The first time I experienced such long summer days was a June in Paris some years back. I couldn’t believe how late the light persisted. It’s true, you go and go because it’s light, then fall into bed exhausted. I love it when the evenings draw in now, with our winter (extremely, ridiculously tame by your standards), then I can sit and make stuff. Your world sounds interesting but sometimes lonely with no usual Shetland bustle. Perhaps Edinburgh will give you a shot in the arm and you’ll be glad of the quiet! You might be ruined, like many ex-pats… yearning for both lands. Loving both lands. It’s certainly an expanded life you lead!


  3. I am so inspired by your journeys & also, I am captivated by Shetland. I’ve never been there…just dreamed about it while pouring over photographs of the area. I live in the states & vicariously live through the real journeys that people like you take, in this area. Thank you for sharing so much of your journey! Kat


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