(May 21, 2023, The Ocean Wave Quilters annual quilt show.) Alaska is sleep deprived. As we approach the solstice nights get lighter. From Mid-May until the end of July Sitka has no real nighttime, only extended twilight. I normally go to bed at around 10:30 but given the long light I am not sleepy until after midnight. That is after taking 3 MG of melatonin earlier. And no matter how late I go to bed I still wake up at 6:30.
At least I can sleep that long. That is because I can tolerate a sleep mask. I have several nice new soft ones with adjustable Velcro straps, courtesy of Emirates Airlines, picked up during my medical evacuation from Mauritius in March. I was thinking ahead. I keep a bottle of melatonin next to my bed for when I wake up at 3:30 AM and have to use the toilet. I need to take off the mask for that and sometimes, after I put it back on, I can’t get back to sleep so I pop a pill under my tongue. On social media groups friends who can’t tolerate masks complain about going to bed at midnight and being awakened by the light at 3:30 or 4 in the morning.
When our kids were small, we took black heavy plastic trash bags and taped them to their bedroom windows and that is how they got to sleep and stayed asleep. Some people use blackout curtains. But no matter what techniques we use, everyone is somewhat sleep deprived.
When I was younger, I found the daylight gave me energy. I didn’t feel the lack of sleep. And while I love the late daylight, the ability to be outside until late in the evening and still see things, I am feeling the lack of sleep more than I used to.
Perhaps that is why the Ocean Wave Quilters in Sitka chose the third week in May for their annual quilt show. Attending makes us all feel nostalgic for sleep. The quilt patterns are comforting, and I can imagine myself snuggled under such a beautiful work of art, drifting off to sleep in defiance of the midnight sun.
This year the show has a new venue, Fraser Hall, on the Sitka Fine Arts Campus. It is only one building over from the old venue, but Fraser has been beautifully restored, with vintage light fixtures and finely restored woodwork, including the wainscotting. The colorful quilts, sewn by my neighbors, are a great complement to the restored former dormitory from the defunct Sheldon Jackson College.
Every year I enjoy wandering among the quilts. This year was a “no repeat” year. None of the quilts had been shown at the show before. It was a nice way to spend a cloudy Sunday afternoon after a week of sunshine.