Have you heard of Svalbard? I hadn’t until this past week.
A suggested YouTube video for me with the title, “Life in the DARKEST PLACE on earth (24/7 darkness)︱Svalbard, an island close to the North Pole” caught my eye and I watched.
I had never heard the term “Polar Night” until then either. I’ve heard of places where it’s dark 24/7 for periods of time during the winter, but this term seemed to encapsulate something different the way the vlogger, Cecilia, describes it. Polar Night in Svalbard lasts for two months!
The tourism website for Svalbard describes it in a rather fun way too.
‘Winter doesn’t just show up overnight’ is something you’d be safe enough to say most other places in the world without being wrong. But what if the night doesn’t just last a couple of hours, but instead spans over two months? The dark season in Svalbard lasts from around the end of October until the middle of February, but between November 14th and January 29th we enter the darkest and cosiest part of the dark season, also known as the Polar Night. As the days darken during late autumn the cold of winter also creeps in, and with the coming of the sun the light also shines on a new winter in our archipelago. While winter may not show up overnight, a lot can happen during the course of a Polar Night!
Cecilia loves this season and really leans into it. She’s all about the hot drinks with sweets, lighting fires and plaid flannel pajamas. Full on cozy! Which I love, and reminds me of when I started writing my Collection Of Moments series. Where I could find the good in all the seasons, not just the warm ones that I prefer.
I learned about hygge, which is a Danish term, where they also lean into the coziness of the dark winter months. Svalbard is one of a cluster of islands that are part of Norway, but very west of the country and closer to the North Pole.
One of the wildest things that she talks about is the polar bears. There are many around and they are a real threat. In one of the videos when she went for a walk, not only does she have a hat with a spotlight, she slung a rifle over her back. I’m not a gun person, but I can definitely see the need for one. This is no joke and one of the many tools for survival.
So I’m enjoying the videos and will watch more. But I don’t think that I would visit. Especially not during Polar Night. We’re in the darkest month right now here in Massachusetts. It will keep getting darker until the Winter Solstice on December 21st. Getting dark at 4pm is bad enough. Never mind complete darkness for two months!
I don’t want to wish time away, so I’m leaning into the cozy as well. The light will return soon enough. And at least we don’t have to worry about polar bears!
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