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.