Much of the suspenseful polar literature we have read around explorers that have endured long periods of darkness, survival and despair points to the necessity of routine, celebration and rituals. We officially lost the sun as it dipped below the horizon line on Sat the 26th though we have the slight afterglow until about mid-November. And then, then the icy plunge into the dark day… and dark night.
We honored the light, the sun, and this monumental day. We toasted all of you – our supporters, family and friends. We took a hike up to a high point overlooking the Van Keulenfjorden. With us our offering of ashes from Sunniva’s furry best-friend Shackleton who passed last Feb, Hilde’s/Lea’s furry friend Bagera who passed in Sept, Sunniva’s friend Jim who passed years ago and an offering of ceremonial tobacco from Squamish, sage from California and a small fire.
We toasted with Jagermeister and a few cold, wet tears of pure clean gratitude. We are so awake to being here in this simple, purposeful day to day. The support and encouragement we have received is overwhelming – like a waterfall overflowing. You know who you are! You have painted and created art, crafted jewelry, written songs, composed music, sent us books, provided us with wind, solar and power, written poems, brought us fresh fruit and vegetables, connected us with scientists, cleared our space, shipped us goods, loaned us equipment, given us time off, taken care of our accounting, provided us tools for our mental toughness and togetherness, given us music, made sure we had our vitamins and herbs, donated to our project, sponsored us, helped us with radio comms, technology support and on and on and on.
In the north are quivering aches of faint aurora, trembling now like awakening longings, never at peace, restless as the very soul of man.
You have shown up for us. You all represent the ground we walk on, literally our foundation. Without you, there is no us. And of course, without all of us in this together, no change is ever made. No thoughtful path can be forged forward without collaboration and connectivity. Both of us – Hilde and Sunniva-know that the next few months of darkness will be overshadowed by the light, support and kindness you have all shown and given us. From the bottom of our hearts – Thankyou!
Hilde has spent 25 years rubbing elbows with the polar night. Sunniva has spent a few days. This should be interesting. She has already started taking vitamin d3 and both have been enjoying the routines they have crafted. Routines that include writing, collecting data, observations, making meals, chopping wood, organizing ice and water, walks with Ettra, equipment maintenance, food preservation and good runs up and down to the point past Bamsebu. We run with our gaiters, headlamp, layers, weapons and open eyes. We stretch, do our situps and pullups and we stay awake past midnight – almost every eve.
The time here is defined by the light, weather, wildlife, conditions and the magical aurora. We sleep when we are exhausted. We are not looking north for the northern lights, we’re looking straight up. It’s as if there is a waterfall of light above us, showering down on us!
The aurora – faint and subtle. They are always changing. Sometimes they resonate with our own feelings, imaginings and longings. They shower us, they twist and they leave an imprint on our minds and in our souls. Feelings of color and radiance that are hard to define. The world is changing on the ground, but the lights above and within are growing and strengthening. For some reason, this provides solace and feelings of hopefulness.
Love from Bamsebu