The winter solstice is a particularly wonderful day of the year. Traditionally it is thought of as the first real day of winter, and it marks the point in the year when, finally, the days will be getting longer.
I can’t believe how much darker it gets, its noticable within the days now. One morning, the alarm went off and it was completely night outside, even though at the same time the day before, there had been a light hue in the clouds. Its especially dark when its cloudy, which it always is. It gets fully “light” (about dusk at home) around 10:30am and it goes completly dark again at 1:30.
Many of you know that I suffer from depression. I take medicine for it, and it helps a lot, but to be honest I was very concerned about what this lack of light would do to me. I feel it a little, mostly things just make me much more angry than they normally would; like if a car drives by while I’m photographing the northern lights, or slipping on the ice while feeding the horses. But more than that, I just feel tired all the time. It always seems like bed time. Even after getting a full 8 hours of sleep, your body just thinks you need to keep sleeping.
Fortunately, there are some AMAZING things about Norway that helps stave off the winter blues. I thought I would show you a bit of what this time of year looks like, and how people deal with the lack of natural light.
First off, Norway does Christmas. They go all out. There isnt a house on our street that doesnt have lights at the very least on the outside railing. Most have trees lit up in the yard, and all have little candles (real or fake) in each window. Its beautiful, and it makes dark afternoon walks so pleasant. Even town goes crazy for Christmas.
But something even more amazing happened this week. Impossible, right? No. We had an incredible outbreak of something called Nacreous Clouds, which are a type of Polar Stratospheric Cloud (PSC). These clouds are extremely rare, and they only occur above the polar circles, in the Arctic and Antarctic. They are formed when the air at the bottom of the Stratosphere, very very high above our normal clouds, is super-cooled, -85C or lower, and the super tiny molecules fuse in a certain way. The angle of the light from the sun refracts the light through the cloud, making them positively glow in a prism. They are remarkably tricky circumstances, and they dont happen very often at all. So you can imagine my excitement when we saw them. I wasnt able to capture the full scene, but here are the best.
Happy Winter Solstice!!