There are days….

There are days when things just flow easily, effortlessly and seamlessly. There are days when everything falls into place.

Today is not that day.

From work to my run to errands and administrative crap, it’s been a chore. A slog through bogs, both literal and figurative.

Helsinki’s skies offer nothing but rain, snow and the darkest of days. And, right now, both of us just want to hibernate, as both an escape from November’s nastiness and because mentally we are spent.

Soon enough, all of this will be a distant memory. We’ll soon be on that long overdue holiday, sleeping soundly and setting aside our gadgets and the daily grind for a stack of books and a lounge in a hammock. And, we’ll face reminders of just how uncomplicated our lives really are here in Finland.

But, until then, we just need to get through each of these days where night is endless and seemingly darker than ever….

Day 30: Proekt 365 (A little streaming sunshine)

Day 30: Proekt 365 Lovely streaming sunshine to brighten my day

Day 30: Proekt 365
Lovely streaming sunshine to brighten my day

My close personal relationship with my desk, keyboard and computer screens continued today, finding me pretty much locked in my desk chair and focused on the tasks at hand. So, I was thoroughly delighted to be able to turn off the desk lamp for even a brief bit of time today as the sunshine streamed through the windows and brightened the room around me with dazzling winter sunlight.

Glorious, lovely, bright sunshine. If you look closely at the photo, you can see my transition lenses darkened a bit. Yes, it was just that bright.

We may have only had a brief window during which there was no need for any additional light. But, I’ll gladly take it. A month ago, it was ‘dark’ (think very, very grey) all day and completely dark by about 3.00-3.30 in the afternoon. Here we are heading into February and the days are longer and, more importantly, brighter. I swear, that plant in the corner along with all the other plants in our flat perked up as soon as the first traces of sunshine hit. That same plant looks rather sad just now, sitting in the darkness.

We may be expecting a bit of snow over the weekend, which will be very much welcomed by this household. But, it is such a relief to see the days lengthen and the sun rise that much higher in the sky each day. Winter may be here, but summer is coming.

Day 14: Proekt 365 (The lower the temp, the brighter the sun)

Day 14: Proekt 365 Sub-zero temps mean clear skies

Day 14: Proekt 365
Sub-zero temps mean clear skies

Stumbling out of bed this morning required the immediate addition of several layers of warm clothing. As I made my way to the coffee, I peeped at the thermometer outside our kitchen window: -17C (that’s 1.4F for those of you not using the metric system). Yes, it’s freezing; but, beyond the cold, we have clear, blue skies and sunshine!

A week ago, Helsinki temps were hovering just above freezing and the days were darker than dark given the constant cloud cover, persistent rain and lack of snow. I don’t mind telling you that everyone was in a foul mood, myself included. Meanwhile, many parts of North America, suffering the great Polar Vortex of 2014, were experiencing the sort of temperatures and weather common for Helsinki this time of year. It was odd.

One week on, we’ve had a very tiny bit of snow to brighten things up even with clouds, and the mercury has plummeted. This is winter. And, with winter and the colder temps, we get winter sun, which is a very much welcome sight.

Day 9: Proekt 365

Day 9: Proekt 365 A brief moment of sunshine in Helsinki winter

Day 9: Proekt 365
A brief moment of sunshine in Helsinki winter

Helsinki today was graced by a brief return of real sunshine. What a sight.

This time of year, even when the sun appears, it sits rather low in the sky. The photo above was taken around 11 this morning. At its zenith, it’s never much higher than this during the long winter months.

The past month has been particularly dark and grey this year. With no snow at all yet (a rarity) and near constant thick cloud cover, sunshine of any sort is very much welcome. I’m sure there were many an individual standing and reveling in the brief winter sunshine today for that brief while as it appeared in the sky.

Thank you, Mother Nature! Even if it was but a fleeting moment, it was a lovely thing to see!

Day 5: Proekt 365

Day 5: Proekt 365 It's all about the light.

Day 5: Proekt 365
It’s all about the light.

Light is a precious commodity in Helsinki in winter. So, when LUX comes to town, you go. It’s all about the light.

My favourite installation this year was a gigantic blinking-light pinball machine with sound on the fascade of a building in downtown Helsinki. I didn’t get to play it, but I loved it all the same.

Thanks, LUX, for brightening the otherwise dark January evening when light is exceedingly rare.