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Icelandic Winters

The New York Times today discusses the attitude of Icelanders toward winter darkness (login required). The closer is cute:
"In London, the climate was wonderful compared to here," Ms. Sveinsdottir said wistfully. "I felt I was living in paradise."
The reality is a lot of them are probably inured to it, and put a brave Nordic face on it. In Seattle, we've had the season of full darkness for almost a month I drive to work in daybreak twilight, work in a windowless office all day, then drive home in the dark, which I normally find really wearing. This year we have a full-spectrum lamp in the house (which helps some), and I'm coping with the darkness well so far. Some nights lately as I've walked down the hill from the bus stop, the rain-slicked city has had a Bladerunner feel to it, more than anything else. But ask me about winter depression again in January.

I have no grounds for complaint, really; I mean, just compare 47° N Seattle with 64° N Rekyavik. The Icelanders seem to use a mix of coping mechanisms: stoicism, genetics, cod-liver oil, bookishness. I'm not sure those first three help me, but I've got the last one covered.


( 6 sutras — Your wisdom )
Dec. 2nd, 2004 06:53 am (UTC)
Just to be on the safe side and not risk useful info slipping through the crack: the full-spectrum light gives you best benefits if used for half an hour or more, and before 8 am. I need to get mine set up here.
Dec. 2nd, 2004 04:03 pm (UTC)
The before 8 AM part is tough. I'm either at breakfast or in the car. But good to know. Maybe I'll try waking up earlier to do some writing.
Dec. 2nd, 2004 02:57 pm (UTC)
I can no longer endorse this southern complaining.

Next Wednesday's projected high: -20c. Projected low: -23c.

That's in addition to the longer dark, but you know my solution for those problems, and it has worked out marvelously so far.

I miss the rain.

Dec. 2nd, 2004 04:06 pm (UTC)
I was referring to degrees of latitude, wise guy, but since you bring it up, it has been a bit nippy lately. Down to the high 30s F (2° C) overnight.

Lessee, Edmonton, 53° N. Rekyavik has you beat by more than 10 degrees!
Dec. 2nd, 2004 04:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, yeah, I know. It's just impossible not to remark on the relative harshness of my new climate. So far, it's the dryness that's killing me. Next week, though, we'll see how well my Nordic genes and my brief stay in Wisconsin have prepared me.

Winter is coming.
Dec. 3rd, 2004 01:32 am (UTC)
C reported to me yesterday that a researcher at UW thinks there's a variant on SAD that includes increased sensitivity to criticism. urgh. the cure is, of course, light box, vitamins, and exercise. i need to get all three.
( 6 sutras — Your wisdom )

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