"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Sunday, July 4, 2010

No firework celebration this year

Today is the 4th of July. The birthday of this great nation. Over 200 years later we are still enmeshed in battles and bloodshed to uphold freedom and I am thankful (not for the bloodshed but for the freedom). Fairbanks is home to a large army base, Fort Wainwright, and a few miles south is Eileson Air Force Base, so there is plenty of military influence around this town.
All of our years living near Plattsburgh AFB meant we experienced terrific firework shows on the parade oval. So, I assumed that the bases here would provide some super displays. (Right??) But when I asked where the best ones were, my answer was blank stares. After a long pause my patients replied, "Well-l-l-l-l, you can see some great fireworks at the New Year celebration." My confusion was evident and they further explained, "It is dark then." OH!!! Now I got it! Duh! Fireworks aren't very impressive in the daytime sky.
Since most of you are in the lower 48 and as unfamiliar with this "Land of the Midnight Sun" as I, I am adding some pics I have taken late at night:

These are of the field near my apt at 1:30 AM. Today the paper reports that the sun will rise at
3:17 AM and set at 12:31 AM. That equals 21 hours, 13 minutes, and 16 seconds of daylight. The remaining hours are not dark but twilight. This is officially called "civil twilight" and it is reported in today's paper to begin and end a 2:18 AM.

What does this all mean in layman's terms? It is NEVER dark out. The weather page in today's paper it also reads, "daylight lost=4 minutes, 54 seconds". In 6 months the whole deal reverses and Dec 22 is almost all darkness. But we don't talk about that now but bask in the continual blue skies. They are beautiful.

This picture is from my apt window at shortly after midnight. Amazing, huh? Wonder why I have some serious insomnia issues while here---

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