Dear Family, Friends, Colleagues, Acquaintances and Random Strangers,
Do you remember the picture of this old barn I took last month? Here is another one from yesterday.
Some of you worry about my survival in these Nordic latitudes. You’re worried about the freezing cold and ominous darkness. Some of you have even heard somewhere (where, by the way?) of alarming statistics about the rates of suicide in Scandinavian lands. I thank you infinitely for your concern.
Do not worry. Of course I am not denying that on December days like today, sunset is to be expected around 1:40 pm. If it’s cloudy (which is rather frequent), and in the absence of snow, the atmosphere can undeniably be gloomy, and it its hard to remember that these lands are submerged in darkness only half of the year, while summer nights are so bright they almost feel like days. But you can rest assured that, although I do sleep a little longer than usual these days, I do not feel condemned to total hibernation.
You would be surprised to see how, far from moping around in the dark all day long, the locals live their lives anyway. I have noticed one thing they do to cope with the darkness: they turn the lights on.
Now I hope you’re sighing in relief. But I don’t want you, though, to imagine anything as vulgar as dazzling white lamps all over the place. Picture, instead, small touches of warm yellow light here and there. One small lamp at each window. Always a candle on the table. The most delicate Christmas lights. Nothing to flashy, nothing to bright.
There is not much sunlight, these days, it is true. But when there is, it is golden, and you’re immersed in it, and you cannot believe its beauty.
You see, living in Scandinavia has taught me one important lesson: for light as for so many things, it is not just quantity that matters. Quality does, too.
PS: Please do not send wishes of mild temperatures. I’m actually longing for minus degrees. I can hear you saying that this climate must have driven me nuts, but it hasn’t. You’ve probably heard somewhere that dry cold is much more bearable than moist cold. Well, it is true. Rest assured, though. Like the locals (can you believe there are millions of people living in this country? Millions!), I am taking all necessary precautions whenever I get out of the house: I always put on a coat, a scarf, a hat and mittens. No, really, I promise you, I’m fine. XOXO. M.