So much of my time in Sweden is spent checking out the light. During the winter, I am usually despondent – OK, quite literally crazy – over the lack of light as the sun is up around 9 and sets quickly around 2.30. The short days leave me with a buzzy, fuzzy feeling, much like I can’t quite open my eyes and focus. It’s hard to get out of bed and hard to motivate myself to move in general. My mood swings quickly and I am easy to cry, easy to anger. Sounds like hormones gone crazy, huh? But it’s not just me, even my Swedish friends who were born in the north where it’s even more dark in the winter suffer.
In contrast, during the short summer months we have almost no darkness, but rather a prolonged twilight. Sunsets go on forever. It’s a light overdose and it’s energizing and also crazy but I also love it. I HAVE to be out as much as possible. So perhaps you can understand a bit about why I am so obsessed by the light here. Even in the winter, the little light we have is amazing. On sunny days such as those we have been having for the last week, the light is sharp and crisp and has a cool color. The angle of the light is low as the sun does not really venture above the 30 degree mark. Though short, the sunset colors are many and varied and spectacular in their contrast with the city roofscapes.
With the many windows around our apartment, we have a grand vista from which to watch the light as well as the water (as you can see from the photo that heads this blog, which is a view from one of our balconies and shows the sky about as dark as it gets in the summer). I check out the light first thing as I’m waking and watch it throughout the day as I work, as if waiting for the long days of summer to come back. At least the shortest day of the year has now passed…
Truly, I’ve never been so obsessed by the light before–it’s a classic case of you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. I can see how such great Swedish painters as Anders Zorn came to make light the subject of many a painting.