It’s 9 p.m. and there’s still daylight

Story by Sammi Johnson

8:30 p.m.

I’m still awakeeeeee.

I’m still awwwwwwaaake.


I’m still awake.

Hiiiiii I’m stiiiiiiiiilll awake.

I’m still awake.

Yeah, I get it. It’s broad daylight. It’s strange yet true, my littles, but bedtime still happens in summer.

So does the early jungle of the yard that I love/loathe right now, and I will miss its showy lushness in just a month.  I relish the from-the-heart dandelion bouquets hand-picked with love, yet I guiltily throw them away with 90 percent of the art projects perhaps a tad too soon.

Year after year, I pull and gather my inner-Martha for yard prep, with new plantings and fresh seedlings, while still pondering mysteries in my yard …

A weed? A flower?

9:00 p.m.

Momma, I’m still awake.

We’ve now arrived at the semi-annual gear swap in our house: finding life jackets, sunscreen, sandals and flip flops; fixing bike flats; wearing sun hats, unearthing yard games, and researching slip n’ slides. Only a few short months ago, we were cross-country skiing across this very same yard.  Now it’s cartwheel-practice, fort-building outside time.

It’s the signs of summer signaling to our bodies that sleep isn’t necessary and packing two days into one is the norm. And if I don’t, that summer guilt starts to creep in, as if I’ve wasted sweet summer moments with the audacity to go to bed early.

The full moon, sunsets and sunrises bring new sounds and new creatures to our yard with added wonder. We keep tabs on our resident male pheasant stalking and calling out his girlfriend(s) every morning, which marks our alarm.

9:20 p.m.

Mooooommmmm. I am not tired.

Chaco tans, sunscreen in eyes, bugs, bikes, road rash, road trips leading to endlessly messy cars (a Jolly Rancher stuck to my friend while riding in my car), summer songs blasting, all signals pointing towards one thing: summer.

Summer season brings the cars, the uptick in traffic, the heightened pace, yet also a gentle slowdown with less clothes but somehow more laundry.

In my family, my husband drives miles each day, in and around, through and over Glacier National Park for work. We try to keep up in between swim lessons, work and other summer commitments: weekends booked, doors left open and calendars full.

9:30 p.m.

Mom. For real, I am NOT tired.

It’s yes way, Rosé. It’s grilled food if possible, otherwise yogurt (again) for dinner while standing over the kitchen sink at 10 p.m.

Summer signs.

It’s the promise of endless fun and long, lean kids with a caramel glow and freckles. Tangled hair, summer braids and cheap sunglasses. It’s babies best dressed as nudey cuties.

It’s dirty hands, skinned-up knees and slivers; swim goggles, snorkels and the warm wrap of a beach blanket after a Montana swim.

Summer signs.

It’s about staying up late, getting up early and creating more laughs. More sweat, more abundance, more mornings crisped with dew. It’s fresh-cut grass and the low hum of grasshoppers in dry fields.

Summer signs.

10:00 p.m.

It’s quiet. All that’s left is this computer’s glow.

Be safe out there, my friends. This season makes us alive. Cheers to all the summer signs.

10:05 p.m.


Sammi is a mother, wife, business owner and marketing director at the Flathead Beacon in Kalispell. Contact her at