If God granted you one day without darkness, how would you spend it? If you could choose someone with whom to share such an extraordinary day, who would it be? And how far would you be willing to go for this gift?
I came more than 5,000 miles, a distance some might say was too far for a few extra hours of daylight. I spent it with my son, whose company I treasure more than all the unfound gold in these Yukon streams. We talked about life and living, about love and loss. We skipped flat stones across the river. We ate raisins, rice cakes and oatmeal because in our haste to get here, we forgot to shop for proper groceries at our last stop. I bathed in an Arctic stream for both the usual hygienic reasons and just to say I did; Matt bathed in woodsmoke to keep the hordes of hungry mosquitoes at bay. We chopped wood. And we watched the sun circle us, never dropping below the horizon. We snapped photos so we would remember, even though we knew we'd never forget.
In this one long day, we also traveled in time. Forward, not back. To an indeterminate moment in the future when he can bring his own child to this haunting place. On a modest hill overlooking a great glacial valley, beneath a white stone that looks slightly foreign here, they will find a letter from a grandfather who is not today a grandfather, and some trinkets from a life that might have run its course before they return. What would you say to your unborn grandchild 20 years in the future? How far might you be willing to go to be able to say it?
One day is all it takes.
22 minutes after midnight on summer solstice, June 21, 26 miles above the Arctic Circle in Canada's Yukon Territory