Two years ago, my family made a trip to Europe to celebrate my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. We were on a cruise ship in the Baltic Sea and visited Denmark, Norway, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland, and Sweden just as these countries were celebrating the longest days of their year. There was sunlight for nearly 19 hours of the day during the June solstice and I was utterly charmed by the magical length and light of those days. As the local celebrations of the sunlight went on around us, I felt a bit like it was cheating to enjoy those glorious days. After all, I hadn’t been around for the long dark and cold days in December, where there was barely six hours of weak sunlight to mark the day. I felt like I hadn’t quite earned the right to celebrate the long, lit days.
But celebrate I did, enjoying the way in which the light brought an unreal feeling to the long days. In St. Petersburg, we saw Catherine’s Palace in the evening; these pictures were made at nearly 10 pm. The palace is unreal in any light, but at 10 pm it was ethereal in its beauty.
When the ship left St. Petersburg on its way to Helsinki, Finland, we sailed at night but the sky and sea held the light and I recall stepping outside my room past 1 am, when this picture was made.
In Stockholm, Sweden, the sky was cloudy that day, but it was clear that the plants had absorbed the light of the long days My hostas never look this large in June.
The 2014 trip showed me of the power of sunlight in my life. It reminded me to take time to get outside in every season, to enjoy Mother Nature’s sunlit offerings, appreciate the solstice, and turn my face to the light.