How y’all doing one week (or less) before Christmas?
This is a reworking of a post from three years ago that’s one of my favorites.
What’s it about?
Well, it’s kind of about winter.
I’ve made no bones that I have a great disdain for winter.
Oh, I like it for about 3 weeks. And then come January 15, I am ready for it to go already.
And, that’s because winter doesn’t really begin on December 21st. By January 15th, we’ve already had at least two months of “winter.”
This year is no exception as we’ve already had weeks of below freezing temps and several inches of snow and it isn’t officially winter yet. Today, the snow was replaced with a thick coating of freezing rain.
Ice, some call it.
Here are some pics I took this morning outside my living room and bedroom windows.
Can you believe these were taken with my cell phone? The clarity is astonishing. Love it!
Sure, it’s very pretty to LOOK at. However, for you southern folks, as you can well-imagine, the ice is not very hospitable to cars and pedestrians. So, I stayed put. But, that’s okay, no shortage of things to do inside. Good thing because winter sucks.
So, why do I stay here?
Well, I’m actually getting ready to leave again.
Yes, I am. For two weeks. Unfortunately, not to anywhere that’s warmer outside.
Oh, where are you going, Laurel? Are you going to spend Christmas with your smokin’ hot boyfriend?
Ummm… uhhhh… well, as long as you’re asking, as a matter of fact I am. (If you missed that post, click here.)
And, it’s a good thing he’s smokin’ hot. ‘Cause it’s snot-freezing cold up there.
Of course, this is all God’s doing.
And, don’t get me wrong. I’m immensely grateful.
In addition, it may be cold, but it’s insanely gorgeous!
My boyfriend’s “backyard.” See the smoke? haha. He kind of loves trees. Me too!
A sliver of his freshly plowed driveway. I took both of these photos on December 2, 2019. The snow went away with all the rain we had on the east coast, but it’s back as of today.
I know! It’s freaking gorgeous!
But, believe me. They have their share of snirt too. Please click the link for more info on snirt and another favorite post.
Oh, Laurel, what does the house look like? I mean your boyfriend’s house. With a driveway like that, it must be quite grand.
Well, yes, it’s a very nice house. But, I can’t show it to you. At least not yet. However, I can show you one that’s something like it.
Are you trying to say that your boyfriend lives in a log cabin, Laurel?
No, I’m not trying to say anything. ;] He does live in a log cabin. Only his is not falling apart like this one is.
Oh calm the freak down. Please! I know!!! Yes, I know exactly what you’re thinking.
Believe me. That’s God too. I am positive that he’s using me for his evening entertainment.
But, can we please get through the holidays?
Thanks guys. And, thank you all for your kind words. Means a lot to me. I’m very happy. However, we need to get back to the subject at hand.
It was my disdain for winter that precipitated this post the first time around.
Oh, we (or at least I) desperately want to believe that Santa’s North Pole abode/workshop is a cozy chalet nestled between mountain ranges. Softened with fresh, fluffy snow-covered evergreens, Mrs. Claus is making the most fragrant fruitcakes and the elves are getting drunk on eggnog.
After-all, the jolliest man in the world, must be living in the world’s most beautiful place for Christmas.
But then… Santa is never home for Christmas, is he?
hmmm… Can’t say I blame him.
Well, we all know that it’s just a snow globe paper weight fantasy.
The north pole for several months out of the year looks like this; most inhospitable, to say the least.
These two meshuggenehs (definition here) in the photo above went on an expedition to the north pole–in the winter, quite a while back. One of them nearly lost half of his nose!
Okay Laurel. That’s a nice disgusting bit of info to take in while I’m trying to figure out how to look happy that my sister-in-law is spending Christmas with us, after-all. Do you have a point?
I’m sorry. I fully understand.
However, yes, I have a point. You see, I’ve always had a fascination with our earth and the differences of light, especially in the far reaches.
That made me think recently, “Where is the most northern place on earth that people live?”
Well… I found it and then I found two other places that are even further north but people are only there for scientific purposes for the most part.
The very most northern place is way, way, way up at the tippy top of Canada and it is called ALERT.
A fitting name for a place that hasn’t seen the sun since Mid-October and won’t see it again until the end of February 2020. Then, from early April through early September, the sun never sets!
But here’s something else that I love.
And that is just because the sun doesn’t come up, over the horizon in the Arctic circle, doesn’t mean that it’s pitch black the entire day.
This of course, varies widely depending on how deep one is in the arctic circle. It’s a very big circle.
In addition, there’s a myth out there, that people who live in these remote, dark frozen areas are a bunch of depressed alcoholics.
Nothing could be further from the truth according to articles I’ve read.
As a matter of fact, people in the northern areas of Norway for instance, actually look forward to winter.
And as someone who abhors winter in a place several thousand miles south, from these far reaches, I want to understand why that is so.
They call it the polar night.
The polar night is a period where the sun does not appear above the horizon for several weeks in some places.
The next four images are stills taken from a short and exquisitely photographed video by Christian Uhlig.
I promise that if you are feeling any stress at all… that it will quickly vanish.
Alas, Christian took the video down a while back. I believe it’s for sale, as it should be. However, you can purchase his videos on Vimeo. And, by clicking that link, you can also see some clips from his beautiful films.
The next four images are stills from Christian’s video that’s not on youtube any longer.
Why, the deep arctic is not black and dreary at all, in the dead of winter! It’s full of the most amazing colors and light;
The second further most place with a name is a place called Nord Greenland. There’s really nothing there.
But the third most northern place is a real town with hotels. (well, maybe two), a hospital and a university!
It is a place called Longyearbyen.
Longyearbyen is located on the Svalbard Archipelago. That location is half-way between the top of mainland Norway and the north pole! It has a permanent population of about 2,100. And most of the natives love it there!
Here is a map of the arctic region. We’re focusing today on northern Norway and Svalbard.
Another view of the earth with the Svalbard Archipelago just to the east of Greenland
And yes, Longyearbyen is very cold, but it is not even close to being the coldest place on earth. In fact, considering that it is at the 78.2232° N latitude, it’s relatively mild.
The gulf stream is what helps to moderate the temperatures to some extent.
But still, because of the permafrost, there is no vegetation except for short grass, even during the long, long summer days.
At this time of year, in Longyearbyen there is not so much as a drop of civil twilight. (the brightest twilight, just after the sun goes below the horizon.) And there will be no bright twilight until January 30, 2017. From then on, the twilight time and strength will increase rapidly until the sun peaks up behind the mountains maybe in March, but technically, it will be above the horizon mid- February.
And if you think that all there is to do is try to stay warm and keep from getting mauled by a Polar Bear, that would not be true. (yes, the natives walk around with rifles, because the bears are a real threat!)
Here are some other winter activities to enjoy in Longyearbyen and Svalbard.
They ride bikes? In the middle of winter? Really?
Please remember, that not only is it freezing and snowy, where this bike is located, it would quite dark. That is, unless the moon was out in full-blast and/or there was a great show of the northern lights.
But lets move further down to the top of mainland Norway and there we can find the larger coastal city of Tromso at 69.6492° N Latitude with a population of about 72,000.
Tromso at twilight is all we’re going to get in the winter months of northern Norway.
Tromso still has a couple months where the sun does not rise above the horizon, but they never go 24 hours without some light in the sky. Even on the shortest day of the year, they get about 4.5 hours of twilight.
Ludovic Charlet – Tromso @ludo_pics on unsplash
An outdoor film festival? (and I think it might be snowing too, looking at the lights!)
These are humans, right? haha.
This gives all new meaning to a “shack on the beach.”
What happens when you need to borrow a cup of sugar?
The return of the sun and some of Tromso’s colorful homes.
An arctic night sky. (original source unknown)
I found some other beautiful images that make me not have quite as much disdain for winter.
Lofoten is further south than Tromso, but still above the arctic circle.
Well, I hoped you enjoyed that respite from this hectic time of year.
And, now for a little business.
One, if you missed it, the complete 333 Hard To Find Rules Guide is finished. If you’d like some more information about it click here.
One note that some people have written me about. And, I’ll try to make it more clear.
This guide is FREE if you purchase any of my other guides such as
Or, any combination of those three. That offer ends December 30th, 2019 at 11:59PM
It is also FREE if you purchased any of the guides from November 23, 2018 through December 30, 2019. BTW, you will receive the guide separately and it might be a few hours if I’m sleeping or not tethered to my email, but you will receive it within a few hours.
If you ordered any guides before November 23, 2018, sorry, but the new guide is not free. I made that the cut off because most of the products went up in price after that date.
And, the Hot Sales are newly updated. Serena and Lily has started their Winter Tent Sale, which is offering up to 70% off. And, there’s a lot more to see.