Light of the night

This is the light at midnight at the summit of McCarthy Peak on Fireweed Mountain. No flash or camera adjustments necessary, there’s just plenty of light yet for pictures and enough visibility to allow us to do a night trek. We started hiking at 7 PM, all to avoid the heat of the day because it’s been bloody hot here in Alaska this summer, again. After enjoying the summit for a while, we hiked along that ridge line that you can see in the background and eventually laid out for a few hours of rest (probably can’t honestly call it “sleep”). Then at about 3 AM we all woke at about the same time — roused by either the chilly ground beneath or the mosquitoes buzzing about —  to see the sun light pushing itself above the distant mountain, glowing yellow and orange behind the peaks in the east. Lot’s of bush-wacking at the beginning and end of the journey, lots of tumbles and falls, but we stumbled out from the thick brush at about 6 AM, tired, with a few new scrapes and scratches to show for it, and most importantly with another summit under our belt. 

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Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

6 thoughts on “Light of the night”

  1. It looks really awesome up there! I remember that light until midnight being a real pain when you were little. People let their kids play outside til midnight. They were grilling really late and with all the commotion going on outside, it was really hard to get my kids to bed at a decent hour. Then you’d wake up really early because it was light again at 3:00 AM. We tried the black curtains thing, but it didn’t help with the noise factor. So basically – kids were tired (and crabby) all the time.


    1. I really appreciate the contemplative poetry of Hafiz and Rumi, as well as Rilke. I also have very much benefited from reading Bud Osborn — he was an activist and also an addict who explored the reality of America through the eyes of those left in the wreckage of America’s commercial success. He’s quite provocative but it comes from the place of lived experience and personal observation.


  2. Thank you very much! I do too love Rumi and Rilke. I did not read the poems of Hafiz but I will now. Also Louise Gluck, Ann Carson, Alejandra Pizarnik, Maya Angelou and more.

    I read your blog for a few years now (from the time it was in a different domain) and appreciate your way of thinking. I started my journey too and decided to translate the work of different poets from English to Hebrew so we can expend our cultural look in our society. If you have more ideas you are welcome to share. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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