Even though I have lived in Norway for over five years now, I still can not get used to the dark season. I live in the Arctic North where we don’t see the sun for two whole months over Christmas. There is light during the day, but only a sleepy blue light that mimics dusk for an hour or so. The rest of the day is spent in darkness.
The snow does make the landscape a little brighter in the darkness and snow clouds help as well, but when the sky is clear, darkness consumes everything. It is the perfect time to see the Northern Lights, if they decide to make an appearance and there are not as many stars shining back at us this far north it seems.
In the darkness everything is smaller and closer. We are trapped by the boundaries of our lights. In the house the family is fluttering around the lamps like moths. People outside walk along the street lit paths and welcome candles invite them into stores and restaurants. The darkness limits direction and speed. It closes the world in.
At times it is suffocating. You become claustrophobic. Your body screams for freedom. Your mind wants the weight lifted off. The burden is heavy and then you realize you have another month and a half to go before you see the sun again. You begin to mourn the sun. You force yourself to get outside because you know it is good for you but all you want to do is curl up in bed and just lie there until the sun returns. You remember the happiness when the sun was with you 24 hours of the day and you don’t know how you can wait so long to feel that happiness again.
Sighs become deeper, pauses become longer and pretty soon your mind doesn’t want to do anything. Your body just wants to lie, your mind just wants to be entertained by flashy colours and melodic sound from the TV. This is the time when you think ‘I don’t know how much more I can live like this’. You have to remind yourself of the beauty, the significance, the amazingness of living where you live. That, for the time being, carries you but it won’t be long before you start second guessing your Arctic choice.
Every year I go into the dark season with the idea that I will beat it, but every year I am at its mercy. The Christmas season is coming and the first celebrations are in full swing. It is no wonder that the traditions of Advent, St Lucia, Christmas Eve, Julebukk and New Years are still around today – they bring light into the night and the spirit of goodwill which chases away the darkness.
Gledelig jul! and may this Christmas season bring you light.