It is 11:02 p.m., and it is still plenty light out. I guess the sun has officially set, but it will also officially be twilight for a while yet.
The other night at the summer farm, I woke at, oh, two and looked out the window—which overlooked the town of Voss far below us—and saw the urban lights sparkling up into the not-very-dark-at-all sky . . . and it made me happy. To be able to see the landscape, albeit in muted grays, even in the middle of the night, and also the twinkling mark of clustered humanity.
And to be there at the summer farm, which the owners' family have used for almost 250 years every summer—without plumbing, hot water, electric lights, a non-wood-fired stove (okay, now they have a gas stovetop and a flush toilet—but still no hot water or electricity). They used to drive their cattle up from the valley; now they truck the cows—but still, it's a beautiful tradition. You don't need electricity (unless you want to charge a "device"—but wouldn't you rather be rid of your devices for the summer? ha ha, as if that were really possible anymore . . . ); to wash, a wash basin does the trick. The modern stove does solve the problem of dinner, though you could easily just settle for bread, cheese, meats, a cucumber salad, and beer, followed by ripe Norwegian strawberries and cream for dessert. Just imagine sitting out on the stone patio after dinner around a fire, still bathed in twilight at eleven, midnight. And then: to bed—pulling the curtains tightly shut, to keep out the lingering light.
After the wedding last week, we walked home to our little cabin at midnight, and this is what we saw:
A picture doesn't do justice to the actual light, not to mention the balmy air and the warm feeling we had from having spent a lovely evening celebrating two lovely young people starting life together. (Plus, there was dancing!)
All that said: I'm happy to live at 36 degrees north and not 60-plus. I like my dark nights. I like not having super-short winter days. The summer days could be longer, but then, I could probably get up earlier too, and enjoy that much more daylight that way.
All in all, I'm very happy where I live. And I'm happy that I have this "second home" of Norway. Though I doubt I'll ever come here around the winter solstice. The spring equinox is plenty early enough—and then we're all on the same time schedule.