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Celebrating sunshine: Blooms in Bellingham, WA. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Birds started nattering away at the windows around 4 a.m.: It’s the summer solstice!

The chorus grew from staccato cheeps to loud, unbroken chirping by daybreak.

It was a wake-up call from nature, so I’m bursting with joy for the first day of summer.

Summer solstice!

It’s been a long, wet spring for some in the Pacific Northwest, and many strangers this week have said they’re really grateful for dry, warmer days — at last.

Today is full of possibilities, and I’m thankful for its promise. I am filled with such hope.

I once celebrated the summer solstice in the Arctic Circle in Finland with my mother, watching young Finns dance in 24 hours of sunlight.  It was such a pure experience of hope in community, we’re still talking about that trip, years later.

I cannot imagine anyone could experience an all-out day of sun, and not feel exuberant.

A friend once trekked Denali National Park in Alaska, and she too, has never stopped talking about the power of all-day sun to lift the soul, especially in the northern wilderness.

Denali, just south of the Arctic Circle, gets 20 hours of sunlight most days in summer.  Today it will be almost 21 hours.

Let’s celebrate this summer solstice in gratitude and hope, wherever we are on the planet.