Summer Solstice means long days, lots of stuff to do | Faithful Living

In Winter I get up at night, and dress by yellow candle-light. In Summer, quite the other way, I have to go to bed by day. — Robert Louis Stephenson

In Winter I get up at night,

and dress by yellow candle-light.

In Summer, quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.

— Robert Louis Stephenson

My hometown is Ventura, Calif., and the term “solstice” was never part of my vocabulary growing up. Located much closer to the equator, there is a “sameness” that tricks the flowers into sharing their glory almost year-round and treats tennis enthusiasts to dry courts on a regular basis.

I didn’t understand the near frantic energy generated by summer in the Northwest until I began living here.  Fresh air and a love of songbirds entices me to open windows around the house, and this week the thrushes began calling from the treetops at 4:15 a.m. I remind myself that they will take flight in the coming weeks and during winter the air will fill with silence. Rising early, I watch birds cluster around our feeders while I drink my favorite lavender mocha latte.

I also stay up late as I can’t stand the idea of wasting a moment of our treasured sunlight. Natural light fills me with energy and I want to sit out by our fire ring and roast marshmallows. I create ridiculously lavish salads and slurp barbecued oysters bathed in garlic and butter. On Saturday, June 21 we will celebrate the longest day, “Summer Solstice,” with our yearly strawberry shortcake dinner, complete with a giant homemade scone smothered in Bell’s Farm strawberries and homemade whipped cream.

And I’m compelled to join similarly organized teams in local churches across Oak Harbor to help produce a week of Vacation Bible School fun for all kids kindergarten through grade 5 who would like to join us. I’ll be part of Whidbey Presbyterian Church’s Son Treasure Island, July 23-27, 9 a.m. to noon. Not only will we share the love of Christ but we will celebrate the joy of island life through music, snacks, crafts, outdoor games, stories, skits and lessons about nearby marine life presented by high school biology teacher Sarah Templin. We team because we want to offer a safe and loving week of activities for local children. We also team because it is downright fun to spend time hanging out with other adults who love spending time with kids. To register, please call 360-679-3579. This event is free.

One block over on Ninth Street in Oak Harbor and during the same week of July 23, 9 a.m.-noon, Calvary Chapel of Oak Harbor will be producing its own Vacation Bible School. Like Whidbey Presbyterian Church, they welcome kids 4 years old through fifth grade and registration is easy: simply call their church office at 360- 679-6959.

Across the street from the Presbyterian Church and one street north of Calvary Chapel of Oak Harbor is the Whidbey Playhouse. Volunteers are offering their annual and highly regarded Summer Youth Theater Program July 17-28, 1-4 p.m. daily. The cost is $120 for the first child, $40 for a sibling and $5 a seat for the performance. Call 360-679-2237 to register.

Writer Russel Baker once said, “Oh Summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it!” Truth be told, I yawn at 2 each afternoon because I’ve been up for hours and will be compelled to stay up late. But this craziness celebrates kids and sunshine, food and fun. I’ll catch up on my sleep in December.

Reach Joan Bay Klope at