It wasn’t until I moved to Finland that I took much notice of astronomical events. Days were a little bit longer in the summer, a little bit shorter in the winter, and that’s just how things were. Now I’m so far north that for three months during the winter the sun barely rises. Christmas — Yule — is a big deal because it means the days will start getting longer. Now the vernal equinox is here, the light is definitely back, and soon the sun will barely ever set.
I know that I mention this every three months, but it truly is something that has to be experienced in order to understand. There are seasons here, in spite of the fact that it’s cold most of the year. The difference between the seasons is drastic. It is colder now than it was during the long dark, but the fact that the sky is blue and the sun is shining makes a huge difference. I would rather deal with the temperature being -20 and sunny than -10 and endless night, or single-digit positive temperatures but rainy (and also dark).
Summer in Finland is short, but it’s spectacular. I do think that this is the most beautiful place in the world during the month of July. Everyone takes vacation. The country shuts down. No one is indoors if they can help it. Knowing that it won’t last, you need to enjoy it while you can.
This is true of all the seasons, such as they are. I learned that during the worst of the Long Dark, November through January, you enjoy what the Danes call hygge. Snuggle in, light candles, eat foods that are only available during that time of year (to keep them special, and give you something to look forward to), drink glöggi, and know that the darkness will pass. I’ve learned to use that time for digging into big projects, focusing on work. This also pays off when I want to work fewer hours during the summer.