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Monday, November 14, 2011

Coping With Dark November

While we've enjoyed the most mild November temperatures in over 100 years here in Stockholm, there is no change in the reality of short days for this time of year.  And while I am happy that I can still be out without a hat, gloves and boots and often still get by with wearing my down vest as a jacket, I must admit that the shortness of the day has startled me at times.  Last week I was in an afternoon meeting in a basement room from 1.00-3.00 p.m. which meant that when I popped back upstairs it was dusky.  It's hard to wake up in the morning because it is so pitch dark.  7.00 a.m. feels like 3.00 a.m.  I am very happy for my Philips Wake Up Light.  It is really the only way that we've been able to adjust to getting up when it feels like the middle of the night.  You set your Wake Up Light alarm for whatever time you want the alarm to ring, but one half hour before the alarm goes off, a wide pattern light begins to come on that simulates the sunrise.  By the time the alarm rings, your room is bathed in a soft, beautiful, easy to wake up to light that your brain registers as outside light.  It's wonderful.  I've actually renamed it the Wake Up Happy Light!
The afternoon darkness really sneaks up on you.  Today we decided to take Tanner for an afternoon stroll through the city.  The sky was blue and sunny earlier in the day but by the time we got out, the sun had started to set and again, it was feeling dusky.  I took these photos on the water front.  Beautiful right?  Guess what time they were taken?
2.00 p.m.  
And we still have 5 more weeks of descending before we start turning around again.  Even so, while I don't love the short days, signs of Christmas are popping up around town which always brightens the landscape and yesterday we hosted a gathering for newcomers to our church and the lit candles were warm and cozy.We will get through another winter!  But in some ways I think the bears have the right idea...go into hibernation for a few months and sleep through this dark period!