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Just One Day

Category: Artic Living | Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:56 am

Something I have been mulling over in my mind is something that Aunt Hedvig said to Kolbjørn. When she called him on his birthday, she said "Happy Birthday, today you are 46 days old" (ofcourse in Norwegian, not English) The conversation being on the loudspeaker so we could all talk, I heard this, and thought to myself, hmmmm, she's getting old, let it pass, don't correct her. The thought that she said days, and not years, made me start to think, is she having more problems than she leads us to believe. So I mentioned it to Kolbjørn, and he looked at me like i had a huge wart in the center of my forehead. With one hair sticking out. Horrified. With my eyes, i questioned him. And obviously the invisiable wart also, because he said in absolute incrediability, "Henna, you are born in the Arctic, don't you know"

Know what?

Well that got him laughing. So I sat there thru his laughing fit over how a person could be born up here, and at my age, not know the cycles of the Sun and Moon.

****screetching halt here**** actual skidding sounds with both feet wearing the rubber down at the heels.

Know what?

I think I am pretty much intune with the Sun and Moon cycles,,,,thank you very much!

No your not.

I am 47 days old. Not years. Now I have the incrediable look on my face. And an even bigger incrediable smile to go with it.

Heres how it works. Here in the Arctic, we have one day a year that the sun is at its zenith. Summer Solstice. That lasts 12 hours. The other 12 hours happens on the Winter Solstice. When the sun reaches its absolute lowest point in the sky. All those other days of the year, the sun never reaches its highest and lowest points on earth. They just lead up to the Solstices. Everywhere else on the planet, every single day the sun will reach its highest and lowest points. Not here. It take a whole year to make one full day.

When the Winter Solstice comes around in December we have absolute pitch black. No light what so ever on any of the horizons. But only on that one day. Everywhere else in civilization has this every night. Even for a split second, it happens. Not here. When we go thru the darktime, on the western and northern horizons, we still see a thin sliver of light. The eastern horizon is trying to work on bringing us light back. It turns a little lighter black. Almost a reddish gray. Thats our winter morning light. By that time, the sun has started to go down again, but never to the original point of Winter Solstice. Thats why we have light on the horizons, all the time.

Summer Solstice is the complete opposite. We have light 24 hours a day. No night, but if you look to the east at midnight it will look like shade has taken over that part of the world to us. Still light but not as bright.

So in the 12 hours when the sun makes it highest point in the sky, to the 12 hours when it makes its complete sunset, it takes 6 months, and another 6 months until the sun rises again. One full year.


But its just another thing that makes the Arctic such a magical, and intriguing place to call home. It is like in a fairytale. You live a whole lifetime in just a few short days.

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toni wrote on Wed Sep 10, 2008 1:47 pm:

Fascinating, I love bits of knowledge like this.

Is this way of reckoning time something that everyone there has grown up with? I mean Aunt Hedvig (I love to say her name) is in her 70's or 80's, so it's not that new. That would mean that someone, way back when, without the aid of a computer or modern calculator, figured it out. And 'modern man' thinks they are so much smarter than people were in the old days when in fact we have lost so much knowledge since we began ignoring the Sun and Moon cycles.


Droopy wrote on Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:06 pm:

Intriguing, Biita, I really like to learn about things like that too. (Don't know what I need it for, though.) And I agree with Toni, so much knowledge has been lost since we became *modern* in our way of living. Not that I would give up PC's, mobiles, doctors or supermarkets, but I'd like the old knowledge as well as the new.


Biita wrote on Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:21 pm:

Thank you! I did do some research as best i could, and wow, was it intresting. If you look up Hyperborea (english) and Hyperboreen (norwegian) it is absolutely incrediable stuff. There is one site that is about Lofoten and this time table. The enlish is really bad on the site, but if intrested you can let me know.

As far as the oldtimers up here, its just something that they know. Pass it down, make a joke about it, but i think deep down they truely believe in its magic. Shoot they all live past 90 and some into the 100's up here. Must be something to it.


gardengater wrote on Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:43 pm:

That is fascinating, Biita. My mother's name was Hedvika, I wonder if the names mean the same. I love old folk customs. glad you shared yours.


kuntrygal wrote on Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:59 pm:

That is amazing, Biita. I have learned more history from you, than I every learned in school. You make it interesting. I just can't imagine times with no nights and no days. Thanks for sharing.


bunkie wrote on Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:45 pm:

wonderful info biita! your style of writing is so humorous! i was born in Alaska (land of the midnight sun) and moved to Maine when when i was 6 years old, but i do remember the long sunlit days and the long dark days. your post reminded me of them, fondly.

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