When I served as the rabbi in Fairbanks, Alaska, during the summer of 2011, I experienced my first midnight sun. It was so bright most nights that I placed tin foil over the window to get some shut-eye before I discovered blackout curtains. But then I came to understand it was a magic time. We'd light candles for Shabbat at a fixed time since sundown was long after we'd gone to sleep. Gardens were lush and friends picked veggies for me at 11pm as a parting gift after a late evening. Sometimes we'd stay up late just talking after art night or finishing the last of the moose meat that had fed a family through the winter and spring. We made the most of the golden light of the never-setting sun. Summer Solstice, the longest day and latest sunset was a thing to celebrate. But in Alaska, I also learned that Summer Solstice was bittersweet. It was the turning point in the summer. After Solstice we knew the evening light would grow shorter and eventually the sunset would come a little earlier each night thereafter.
So my questions for you this summer, wherever you live, are how will you make the most of the light and warmth of summer? How will you savor it? What brings you light and joy and how will you bring that into the rest of your summer days and nights?