With just 5 minutes to go before the sun sets on this glorious summer solstice, we’re stacked up behind several cars waiting to park at Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park. Will we make it in time to watch the sun slide behind the Olympic Mountains on the western horizon on this longest day of the year?
“Here, will you take a few pictures?” I say, handing the phone to my niece while I maneuver the car slowly forward. She’s already on it. “Mine takes better shots.”
On this first summer night of the year, kissed with a hint of salt in the breeze off Puget Sound, it looks like half the city is here to witness the solstice sunset. And party. Numerous beach fires glow orange, surrounded by crowds of people. There’s something splendidly pagan about it all.
Finally I stop directly behind several cars parked facing the beach, turn on my hazard lights, turn off the engine, and hop out. Totally illegal, but who’s going to be pulling out of their prime parking spots for the next 10 minutes?
Here in Sunset City, I’ll never tire of watching a sunset on the edge of Puget Sound while the water turns shimmery ice blue and the sky fades to crimson-orange, rimmed by the dark blue silhouette of the jagged Olympics. Over on the main beach at Golden Gardens to our right, I’ve never seen so many people gathered there. It’s packed.
As the sun slips below the mountains to the west, everyone starts cheering and whooping, and I swear it sounds like the Huskies or Seahawks just scored a touchdown. On this beautiful, warm evening, it’s exhilarating.
Lindsey and I sing a silly song and dance for a minute because there’s good reason to celebrate. After the record-breaking cold spring we’ve had, it’s summer!