Friday, November 29, 2013

the last sunrise / the last sunset

The sun in this photo is both rising and setting in this photo. For the last few weeks, the sun has been barely rising, just peaking its face over the horizon to say hi before shooting down again.  "High noon" here in the high Arctic actually means beautiful sunrises and sunsets at lunch time.

Today is the last sunrise and sunset of the year. The sun rises at 11:23AM and sets at 12:14PM. After this, the sky will still get light, like it does at dusk, but the sun will not actually rise above the horizon again until January 12, next year.

By now I've forgotten what it's like to wake up to daylight. It's actually been almost a year now that I've been waking up in darkness. During the summer we sleep with the curtains shut because the sun is up all the time, so now we've just gotten used to rising in darkness.

My friend sent me a link on how to prevent the winter blues by being your own light. Some of it is excellent advice, like wearing warm sweaters and eating healthy vegetables.  Some of it is not applicable to the North, like going into the woods (no trees), lighting a campfire (no wood), watching the sunrise (no sunrise).  It is important though to take steps to combat the winter blues.  I've felt it; even though we have a SAD lamp, my body knows it's artificial sun and my body misses the days (okay, that one day) when we sat on the beach feeling the summer sun.  I feel tired. My body craves sugar, carbs, and all sorts of stuff to equip me with a warm layer of fat for the cold winter. I've started taking vitamin D supplements.

Luckily, winter also means we get to enjoy the beautiful night sky, which I really miss during the summer.  All last week, you could see the full moon in the sky, all day long. At night (and by night, I mean 3PM) you can see the Big Dipper, Orion's Belt, Pleiades, and even Jupiter near the moon.  And we're often greeted by the beautiful Northern lights, a sight that I will never grow tired of.