I spent the entire summer gushing to out of state friends about how much I love Alaska, and how they just have to come here and experience the glory of the summer, and the colors, and the wildflowers, and the mountains, and the glaciers. I am head-over-heels in love with this place and its midnight sun. Insert all the heart emojis here.
So much did I talk about my new adoration that I started to sound like I was telling people about a hot summer fling. Hey everyone — come meet my new boyfriend, Alaska Summer. He’s the best.
The problem? Summer love affairs end. And that this one is now fading is breaking my heart.
Starting on Memorial Day weekend I have done something outside with my boyfriend Alaska Summer every single day, regardless of weather. I wanted to take advantage of the daylight, and it forced me to experience all the nuances of where we live. My commitment to getting out there led us to new places. I spent weeks parading around the state — I hiked, backpacked, paddled, floated, traversed, cycled, ran, swam and climbed.
I never expected to get high on my new love. Isn’t falling in love the best when you’re not looking for it?
But now the relationship is ending. My boyfriend Alaska Summer is leaving me.
In the last week I’ve noticed a new crisp to the air. Leaves are starting to yellow. When I get up in the morning it’s dark, something I didn’t see for months. We’re losing over five minutes of daylight every day, a pattern that will continue into December when, on December 21, we will have a mere five hours and 28 minutes of daylight.
My mood now follows how imminent my boyfriend’s last days seem. Yesterday it poured rain. I wanted to cry. I was angry. I was dreading my kids starting school. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me until I realized — I was grieving the loss of this season of Summer and daylight.
Today the air warmed back into the mid-60s, warmer than its been many days this summer. I’m feeling a little more optimistic. We still have time together! But my heart sinks every time I catch a glimpse of the yellowing foliage. “Oh yeah,” I remember, “my boyfriend is leaving soon.”
I’ll work through my loss by unintentionally making a mental list of all the things I hated about Summer and convince myself that it’s a good riddance, anyway. I’ll do that even as I try to not eat cake in an attempt to soothe my injured feelings.
And then? Well, I’ll have a rebound relationship with a new Alaska season, of course. Because who doesn’t love a good Fall fling?