Mørketiden: The Polar Night

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The polar nights in Norway

On Sunday the 3th of December the polar night started here and I started to write this blog about the polar night.

But as it goes during this time of darkness, time slows down and eventually stops during the Christmas holidays.

So the blog was never finished, but last week daylight came back and energy started to flow again, bringing everything back to life. And now we desperately wait for the sun to show itself.

From the beginning of November the sun was leaving us, pulling away higher and higher into the mountains. But when the polar night started we did not exactly notice a difference from the day before, because it had been clouded a couple of days.

In my car my sunglasses still remind me of the sun warming my face and blinding my view. During snow and rain I automatically use the back window wiper only to see the pitch dark in the rear mirror. More and more I forget to use the mirrors driving in the dark mountains.

Beautiful twilight in winter Norway

That the sun doesn’t rise doesn’t mean it is pitch dark the whole time, as many people think.

There are still some hours of twilight as a remembrance of the day, sunset and sunrise going over in each other colouring the sky in all kinds of delicate pastel colours – from yellow to orange, pink and red. Especially visible on cold, ‘sunny’ days.

There is something very special about this dark time, like everything we learned and know isn’t totally truth anymore.

Like the sun doesn’t come up tomorrow; there is no sun shining behind the clouds etc. This makes one wonder what reality is, ponder over what we are. Spirituality becomes a natural reaction.

Our conditioned behaviour doesn’t work either, with the day rhythm disturbed by the lack of light. The same goes for the summer with its midnight sun, making an arctic year feel like a really long day and night.

The insomnia that is known during the white nights in the summer is actually worse in the winter; the body doesn’t know when to go asleep without the sunlight.

Polar night northern lights

A lot of the nights are decorated by the intriguing, beautiful Northern Lights, making it hard to go to bed anyway!

To survive this though time people celebrate Christmas intensively from the end of November with lots of julebord (Christmas dinners), Christmas decorations (especially a lot of lights around the house) and other preparations.

And even with all the tasks that have to be finished at work, time for Christmas-activities is always found. The Christmas holiday is a welcome and necessary break during this dark and low energy period.

On my hiking trip today the sun itself still wasn’t visible, but at a given moment daylight suddenly appeared, the tops of the mountains on the other site of the fjord were glowing up and the snow under my feet was starting to show shadows again. My body felt the warmth of the sun even without its loving touch.

Slowly the tension is building; who will send the first sun picture to the local newspapers? Sun celebrations are being planned everywhere and soon the kids in kindergarten will celebrate standing outside in the sun eating ‘boller’ and smiling like never before.

About Pim

As one of the 'natur-innvandrere' from the Netherlands (immigrants because of the beautiful Norwegian nature), Pim really enjoys the astonishing LoVe-Islands (Lofoten-Vesterålen) with a challenging job at the municipality and living a life based on what the Islands offer. Read her blog Arctic Living.

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