Ready for darkness?

Autumn-crop_Jacob Truedson Demitz
(c) Jacob Truedson Demitz

The days are getting shorter. It’s getting colder. This can only mean one thing: winter is coming.

In a country where winter lasts 6 months, autumn is reduced to a short introduction to winter, a transition from light to darkness. In only two months’ time, everything changes. I have never been so aware of autumn as I am now. It seems to be moving in fast-forward. With every blink, something changes. I blink, a leaf turns yellow. I blink again, the leaf is falling on the ground.

I like to go running in the nature reserve nearby. It’s in the woods. Uphill. Downhill. And up again. It’s an ever changing landscape, perfect for people like me who easily get bored while running. Even though I’ve been running those roads before and I know my way through the woods, the past few weeks I found myself surprised by my surroundings, as if I hadn’t been there before. Autumn made them look different every time again. I don’t run every day so let’s say that we’re talking about a 4 day difference. 4 days. And I’m somewhere new. And it’s all nature just doing its thing. Crazy! I’m amazed.

Autumn in Sweden feels dramatic.

It’s as if nature does not want to waste any time. Everything around me is screaming: GET INTO WINTER MODE. PREPARE. DID YOU BUY THOSE GLOVES YET? I have to admit it is helping me to prepare. And I need to. Because from next week on it will get much worse. Fast. When we change the clock to daylight saving time this weekend, the sun will set one hour sooner. That means around 4:20 pm. From then on the days will get shorter and shorter with sunsets “in the middle of the afternoon”, until winter finally arrives and we can start longing for spring, still months and months away.

It gets REALLY dark.

If there’s one thing people have warned (and still are warning) me for when I told them I was moving to Sweden, it’s winter. “It’s REALLY dark”, they say. “I know”, I say. But not really. I don’t know what’s coming. I don’t know how I will deal with it. Will I be cold? Depressed? Will it even matter? Maybe darkness can bring something good too?
I’m bracing myself for terrible darkness, loading my apartment with candles, lights and lots of other cosiness to help me survive. Even though I’m used to long and depressingly grey winters in Belgium, I don’t think it’ll be the same. I don’t know what’s coming. So I better prepare. – This reminds me I still need to take my vitamin D supplement for today.

What’s the Swedish way?

Talking to my Swedish friends about winter I’ve learned that they don’t really have a lot of big life hacks to make it through winter. They just compensate the darkness outside with light & warmth inside. Think crazy amounts of candles, lights by every window and cosy living room gatherings. And vitamin D supplements.

I think the real secret is in accepting the darkness and remembering that one day spring will come and make everything feel better again. Because seasons change.

2 thoughts on “Ready for darkness?

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