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.
Log House Snow – via Simon Schoepf @simontour on unsplash
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!
If this sort of thing interests you, you can find the tables, plus weather and all sorts of interesting info here.
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.
Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway during the polar night
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.
Colorful homes in Longyearbyen-Svalbard Global Seed Vault/Peter Vermeij
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
Tromso International Film Festival Photo: Ingun A. Maehlum
An outdoor film festival? (and I think it might be snowing too, looking at the lights!)
Half Marathon held in early January in Tromso.
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.
Dan Magatti on Unsplash @danmagatti – Lofoten, Norway
Lofoten is further south than Tromso, but still above the arctic circle.
Atle Mo @atlemo steam in iceland – unsplash
@bas.vsteenis on instagram Tromso, Norway
Two Excellent Blogs About Living In the Arctic are here and here.
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
The Paint and Palette Collection,
The Six Figure Income Blogger.
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.
Oh boy! Now we Really want to see a picture! 😀
Although lovely post but can be better, I don’t get it! Probably it’s becouse my English level is far from advanced! I didn’t understand any subtext (maybe due to my english, if so– I’m sorry). I have to go and not stop learning it. This blog post is about rural beautiful nature that is never monotone in all greys and blacks? There are vivid colors there! I got it, wow good point, I’m hooked! Green and black, okay. Mary McDonald’s Schumacher fabric comes to my mind. But what’s next? Any examples in interiors will be amazing. Really, Laurel, my imagination is poor. It’s you who have been in interior design for so long. I want examples, interior examples at the and of this beautiful blog post. Maybe I’m silly, but I’d really like interior examples… kind of any exact possible room you can get out of this nature observation? I’m not fully satisfied for now.
Happy Holidays Laurel! You continue to be an inspirations, both professional and personally. You have gracefully endured hardships in both and shown us the light of beauty both inside our homes and ourselves. May you have much joy this holiday season and so happy you have found love in your life too! Keep that boyfriend warm (and hot too!)
Hello Laurel, Do you realize that all of those activities and scenes take place in the cold and snow? Don’t forget Sam McGee’s famous last words! I grant that the northern lights are beautiful, but they are just as magnificent in the summer. (When I saw them I lucked into a simultaneous meteor shower–quite a show!) You might like the book “Ice” by Karal Ann Marling, about all things icy, cold and northern.
In the meantime, have fun and don’t get snowblind–you know how we depend on your eye for color and decor.
Great post, Laurel. I have been following your blog for about 5 years. You have been a great inspiration. You gave me confidence to use some of my more traditional furniture and not just get rid of it all. I remember from then your disdain for winter. I had just moved into a new house in Naples, Florida. My previous 60 years had been spent between Albany and Bolton Landing, NY. I still spend 5 months of the year in Bolton Landing. It’s a gorgeous part of the country. If you want to see more pictures of Lake George join ‘Lake George NY boaters’. Some of the members post fabulous photos and drone videos. Enjoy the holidays up there. The Sagamore is magical and Saratoga has lots of restaurants.
Thanks so much Dodie for all of that. There’s also a very good ballet school in Saratoga. Believe me, that is the first thing I looked into! haha
Gorgeous photos! I loved seeing the arctic map. Such an interesting perspective.
This is my first winter at home in Canada in ten years! There is something to be said for being warm and cozy inside, curled up in front of a fire. We’ll see how long it takes to get over it (winter). A log cabin sounds heavenly.
I am so happy for you!
Let’s see–I think we got a glimpse of your boyfriend covered in snowmobile gear earlier. From the photos then and today, we are all going to assume he’s a Yeti, right?
haha That was not him on the snowmobile. And no, he is definitely not a Yeti! lol For a more apt description, mix 3 parts dark blond William Holden with 1 part George Clooney, blended with the bluest eyes you’ve ever seen. :]
Winter is beautiful looking out at it. As long as it’s warm inside. I only leave the house when I have to.
I enjoyed the original post and this re-visit is very interesting and charming. And the photographers must have spent a lot of time figuring out how to achieve their amazing shots in challenging conditions.
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas! Enjoy your Adirondacks Holiday!
Thanks so much Libby!
Oh, give me a home,
Where the cactus wren roams,
Where the sun never ceases to shine!
(Thankfully, I usually have the chance to escape to Arizona during the the worst February Snirt.)
Thanks for all the beautiful images of this post that try to help us believe we won’t be (or don’t have to be) totally miserable this winter. I have often wondered if any transplants to these far north areas are designed-minded folks and if they’ve come up with beautiful, creative light solutions to keep their biological rhythms in sync. I’m familiar with all the light therapy stuff, but come on! I couldn’t live with those overhead solutions! I’ve actually dreamt (literally in a dream) of some kind of inconspicuous exterior above-window day-colored lighting, where intensity is auto adjusted in the day hours, to simply enhance what the sun can’t do through the constant heavy clouds. I know that sounds nuts, maybe even Disneyland attraction-ish, but I’ll likely live in NE Ohio the rest of my life, and my body and brain keep trying to come up with ways to solve my light deficiency!
Hi Laura! (yes, this Laura)
For me, it has never been the lack of light that’s bothered me. ONLY the cold. Oh man, I was just outside for less than ten minutes. Could not wait to get home. It’s 26 degrees (fahrenheit, of course) and the “real feel” they say is 15 degrees. I believe it! Of course, I have waiting for me, bitter cold, single digits up north.
The clear light of winter is so lovely (I am almost at the 45 parallell in Maine). The white/gray/black of the natural palette is so soothing. Excellent post!!
P.S.Once I got to menopause, the cold doesn’t bother me at all.
Alas, Menopause (pause of men) lol did not have any effect on me. That’s not a bad thing. I’m one of the lucky ones, but then I suffered for 40 years before that blessed day came in my early 50s.
Looks like we are headed for a green Christmas here, temps in 40s from Friday thru Christmas. But that’s OK. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of snow soon enough. (southeast Wisconsin)
Wonderful photos!! I might enjoy winter if I lived where there were beautiful colors like that!! The sun in winter can make such a difference…I visited my son in Denver one Christmas and it was very sunny and VERY cold, but with all the sunshine it wasn’t nearly as bad as gray and dreary Pittsburgh.
I hope you have a fantastic Christmas. It sounds like you will 😉
The other thing is the humidity coupled with wind. If it’s dry and sunny, you probably already know, we don’t get that hideous wind chill. But, Pittsburgh is definitely more humid than Denver.
I am giggling with fiendish glee that your boyfriend has a cabin, though I am gathering that it is far grander than my humble abode here in the Mid Atlantic. I look forward to many more posts on the Adirondacks and such! I am glad that you appreciate creation, and share your take on it and all things beautiful with us. At this moment I can see only the white tails of the deer as they cavort in my woods. The rest of their bodies blend beautifully with the trees and I do wish there was a little snow to outline everything. Merry Christmas!
I love winterscapes! In fact I have a board on Pinterest just for that. We went to Abisko, Sweden for a week to see Northern Lights on a photo expedition. It’s in the arctic circle. Was one my bucket list and a fantastic experience. I love the pics of where your boyfriend lives too!
Oh no Laurel,
Very pretty pictures
But I’ve already wandered too far north following
If it requires going outside it ain’t happening
Truly a southern girl
I hear ya!
I live in Seattle where winter is relatively mild but the days are short, probably about the same as where you are. I find the shortness of daylight to be the most intolerable thing about winter. I’ve been to Tromsø and it is a beautiful city! My mom is from far northern Norway And our entire extended family lives there. She is from a more remote area outside of Harstad, but I have cousins in Tromsø. I’ve always been fascinated with their sunless winters and it sure makes me appreciate the fact that we get 7ish hours of daylight even on our darkest day. Thanks for sharing these beautiful winter photos!
As someone who actually does like winter, I appreciate all your research and the beautiful photos!
Enjoy the holidays!
Utterly fabulous post, thank you. What a lot of research you must have done. Wishing you a very Happy Christmas from a very wet, grey and dreary UK. Take care on all that ice and snow x
Since this was a reworking of a post from three years ago, most of the research was done then. But, several of the photos are new. And, I removed a couple. Plus, a lot of the text changed so that it made sense. Happy Christmas in the UK!
Comments are closed.