Summer Solstice: Blessed Litha

Today is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. While some consider this the official beginning of Summer, others call it Midsummer because it’s when the Sun reaches its peak. Celebrations during the solstice are found in every country and believed to have been around since the Stone Age. Stonehenge in the UK aligns with the sunrise on the Summer Solstice and aligns with the sunset during the Winter Solstice. The Summer Solstice sunset falls between two of the pyramids of Giza near Cairo, Egypt. Christians celebrate the Feast of St. John the Baptist around the Summer Solstice.

The Pyramids of Giza near Cairo, Egypt.

Pagans, Druids, and Wiccans call the Summer Solstice Litha. And like many of the Midsummer celebrations, there are bonfires, feasts, and offerings. There is a great deal of mythology around Litha. I encourage everyone to read up on it if interested. Some of you may recall I spent last Summer in Fairbanks, AK. Being near the Arctic Circle, they have a celebration called the Midnight Sun Festival. The festival takes place at midnight and the sun is still shining. There is also a baseball game, the Midnight Sun Game. It starts at 10:30 pm and continues through midnight with no artificial lighting.

If you’ve never visited Alaska in the Summer, I recommend it. Until then, stoke up a fire, have a feast with friends, and I hope your Midsummer Night Dreams are pleasant ones. They may or may not involve fairies. If you’ve never seen Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I also recommend this. Have a blessed Litha.

The Wheel of the Year, the annual cycle of seasonal festivals observed by modern Pagans.

Summers in Alaska

Photo by Errin Casano on

I did a crazy thing for the Summer. A friend of mine I’ve known for almost 20 years bought a business. It’s a homemade ice cream shop. She asked me if I wanted to help out and offered to bring me on as a manager. I’ve worked in the service industry for about 12 years, so I felt qualified for this position. I accepted. I left Tucson, Arizona on May 1stand arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska that night. The exciting part was the ten-hour layover in Seattle, Washington. If you have the option to fly stand by, I would not do it unless you were not in a hurry.

Alaska will be nowhere near as hot as Tucson, but the Sun never really sets. It’s always daylight. There’s a bit of Twilight for about 45 minutes around midnight. Otherwise the Sun is out. I haven’t seen the moon since I got here. Another fun fact, the mosquitos here are bigger than average. I wouldn’t call them huge, but they’re everywhere. I’ll survive. I’m working so much that any bites I get I usually forget about. That’s the only downside so far. I’m sure my opinion will change later.

Now I manage an ice cream shop. I’ve learned how to properly dip and scoop ice cream like the pros. I hope to learn how to make the ice cream before the Summer’s over. There are lots of flavors and lots of combinations of flavors. I’m having fun, but every now and then we have small issues. I don’t mind dealing with issues, but they all happen in one day. Some days are more stressful than others. As the opening manager, I only deal with issues for a couple hours. The first half of my day is spent getting the shop ready to open. It gets busy after I leave. That makes me happy.

The space is small so once a crowd of people are there filling orders, I immediately want to leave. I don’t like being around a lot of people in a small space especially if I don’t know them well. It will get easier. I’m still having fun and that’s what’s important. Alaska is a beautiful place and the population of the whole state is less than the population of Tucson alone. I enjoy the small-town vibe. Unfortunately, I’m staying with my friend and her family and they live outside of town meaning everything is far away.

I’m only here until September. This should be an easier Summer. It’s not the first time I’ve been away from home for a Summer. Several years ago, I enlisted in the Arizona Army National Guard and went to Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training from April to September. This feels similar. At least the being away from home part. I don’t know if I’ll return next Summer. That depends how the rest of this adventure goes. I think I’ll have a good time, but I may not want to come back every year. That’s a bit much.