Above: A time line of activities over the polar night vuorokausi.
In the second week of my project I came to realise how often my outdoor excursions were timed with daylight (1000-1400) and the potential of seeing the northern lights (2100-0300). At around project's the half-way mark I began to feel a temporary resentment for the dark-time.
In my journal on the 8th of December I note:
'I have tried to focus on evening out the light-clustering disparity of my excursions, choosing hours like 0600 and 0700 and 1400/1500 to balance the scale. As my body becomes more fatigued by both the length of darkness and lack of sleep I find myself clinging to the comfort of being inside during the dark time with a rise in my desire to fatten up and sleep. There are hours with reoccurring highlights which seem to revolve around seeing light. I like watching the colours change as the sun rises and sinks below the horizon, I like the anticipation of northern lights and following the moon's tracks in the wee hours. But in the spaces 0300-1000/1500-2200 there is only so much you can do before you say “ this space is dead and I want to go to bed and eat cookies”. The darkness here accumulates, builds up a foggy warm pressure behind your eyes, hums in the nape of your neck so you can't hear so well. And the darkness pinches the vuorokausi at its ends pulling so that the lightest patch in it's centre is dulled into an elongated twiglight. In the dark hours, of which there are so many, I linger about in a post-dusk purgatory watching the clock until stuffing-my-face-with-food time arrives.'
Since this entry I have endeavoured to fight off this agoraphobic tendency and continue to explore the 'dead hours'. In my journeys I rediscover that, along-side my own body, all things here are in flux all the time; weather, temperature, animal behaviour, natural and artificial light, lake sounds, magnetic activity. When your eyes adjust to the dark you can begin to see how the multitude of alignments make each hour unique. And as time has passed I have begun to fall in love with this landscape all over again, only from a different temporal perspective.
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