The Love-Hate Relationship

I just filled in an inquiry the New York Times posted intended for people living in the Arctic region, more specifically concerning our experience of the dark period of the winter, the Polar Night.

I always though I hated the dark and that it made me gloomy and depressed, but it dawned on me as I was filling in the answers that I may actually love the Polar night!! Well, let's call it a very feisty love-and-hate-relationship at least.

There were questions about what makes it unique and how we experience it and what coping methods there are. One thing that I especially pointed out was that we must remember that without the dark, there isn't the light. We also have the Midnight Sun! And so it is just a matter of managing having all the dusk and dark lumped up at one end of the year and remembering that soon there will come the time for endless light and endless summer nights.

As for coping methods I pick a lot of berries in the summer, and make jams. I also freeze a fair amount of those berries, preserving their color and shape. That way I can have a piece of summer in my bowl of breakfast oatmeal also in the winter dark.

The dark is also not just, you know, DARK. As in black. There are a lot of very interesting light phenomena that go on in the winter, as the sun may sometimes shine from below the horizon making everything all red an pink. Also the interaction between frozen water and winter light is interesting. There are crystal that glitter, there is ice that has a whole range of translucence. There is the way a fire in the middle of a snowy winter forest lights up the tops of the trees and how remarkably light a night of full moon can be in a snowy landscape.

The inquiry also asked us to post a photo describing our experience of the dark. And I had a hard time choosing between many, but I ended up sending this one.

I've previously posted this pic in a blog post from last winter. It's a shot I took at Kuninkaanlaavu right before New Year's. I remember that hike, it was a Thursday and apart from some people at the lean'to I was headed for it was a very quiet hike with few or no people at all. As often, also that day I though I'd gone out too late to make in time for the lightest hour of the day, but it was beautiful still in the shades of dusk, or the blue moment, Sininen Hetki, as we call it.

There were other contenders for my Polar Night favorites too:

But one thing's for sure; I could not manage the dark if it wasn't for the snow.

#hiking #photography #arctic

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