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Winter in the North


Winter in the north, winter, north, snow, light, ice, cold, Iceland, Ellen Wild, Aron Ingi Guðmundsson, úr vör, vefrit
„ The north is a place of contrast, everything is more intense here. But above all else, it is really a place of the light. Light in all its possible ways of expression, of which some do require a bit of darkness before they can truly shine.“ Photo by Aron Ingi Guðmundsson

I often get asked how I handle winter, here in the North. More often than not, it is accompanied with worried questions about the darkness and its disastrous effects on mental health, about the cold creeping in your bones and if I’m tired of the snow already.

Let me take your worries away and tell you why you might even want to visit during winter, if it is ever allowed again. Because I’m here to tell you that winter doesn’t even feel dark anymore. In fact, January is all about the return of the light.

One by one, sunlight reaches the villages again, shining its glorious light down on the earth. The feeling of sunlight on your face is reviving. As if you have to see the darkness first, before you can truly appreciate the light. I wouldn’t treat this contrast for anything.

The sun on your face makes such an interesting combination with the tingling cold on your cheeks. The cold makes you feel alive, while you let your golden breath mingle in the crisp air. But even when the sun isn’t shining, the white light is everywhere. When snow, mist and white clouds capture you in time, you feel on another planet. In a place where you feel focussed and scattered at the same time. But then you turn around the corner, only to see aggregations of colourful houses defining the white. Blue, red, yellow, green and even pink. Maybe this is the reason, people paint their houses such bright colours here in the North.

Winter in the north, winter, north, snow, light, ice, cold, Iceland, Ellen Wild, Aron Ingi Guðmundsson, úr vör, vefrit
„The sun on your face makes such an interesting combination with the tingling cold on your cheeks. The cold makes you feel alive, while you let your golden breath mingle in the crisp air.“ Photo by Aron Ingi Guðmundsson

And oh, the nights! How magical are the nights! Because there is one type of light, that is lacking here in the North: City lights. Nothing prevents you here from seeing the stars. Millions and millions of them. The longer you look, the more you see. Have you ever seen white mountains basking in starlight? Some say it is the purest, most heavenly light of them all.

Or maybe you have forgotten how much light the moon can bring. She can turn on the snow coverage as if it were a sea of diamonds, covering the landscape. Now tell me again how you don’t believe in magic. I’m sure I don’t even have to mention the Aurora Borealis, the only nature phenomenon that can sing without making any sound at all.

But my favourite kind of light, is a dilluted, reflected light. It almost seems as if the light gets caught in the moment, to linger there for just a fraction of time. Making you stand still in your path. This dillution, reflection has found a way of expression in winter, that I didn’t even know existed. Something that has become my favourite winter phenomenon. It happens when the air gets cold, colder than the water of the fjords and rivers. The warm water will then try to escape into the air in the form of water damp. Then, when the sun is flirting with the horizon, a million shades of gold and pink, are lingering in mist, swirling higher and higher above the water, finding its way between the ticking ice.

The north is a place of contrast, everything is more intense here. But above all else, it is really a place of the light. Light in all its possible ways of expression, of which some do require a bit of darkness before they can truly shine.


Text: Ellen Wild


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