The light and the dark

The light and the dark

Living in Finland, you develop an intense relationship with light and dark. The seasonal changes here are so stark: we’re at 11 hours of daylight right now, compared to 19+ in June, and fading fast. Even though cycling through sleet in the dark at 3pm (coming soon to a Finnish November near you!) is not my favorite thing, I try appreciate each season on its own merits.

Something I have been caught off guard by this year is how much I am enjoying the encroaching darkness! We had a very long, very hot (by Finnish standards) summer this year, with around 60 days where the temperature exceeded 24C. And it’s not just that it was warm: it was SUNNY. When the sun shines in Finland in the summer - which it doesn’t, not always, not every year! - it shines around the clock. You can’t escape it. It sometimes literally does not set. And when the sun is out there, shining robustly, it can be hard to sleep. Even if you have blinds, and blackout shades, and blackout curtains. My body just knows. And this summer, it made me restless. I didn’t sleep well, or for very long.

The upside of this is that I tended to have a lot of energy this summer for exercise, sight-seeing, and just, like, being awake until late at night and still waking up fairly early. It was almost…manic? Something like Anna’s “the sky is awake, so I’m awake”? So I’d clean the house, and go for a bike ride, and pick strawberries, and go downtown, and take the kids for a walk in the forest, and sit on the balcony reading a book, all in one endless day.

Now that those sunny times are over and the days are getting shorter I find myself increasingly enveloped in sweet, cosy DARKNESS. There’s an external cue for my body to come inside (because it’s getting dark!), draw the shades, turn on the lights (something we hardly ever have to do in the summer), and just be still and snug. I am sleeping longer. I am sleeping better. I am enjoying a sunrise and sunset at reasonable hours again.

And I know winter is coming, with all that entails. But at least I’ll be cosy!

October 5th, outsourced

September 2018 books