For the past five days I have been so incredibly tired that all I felt I could do, was sleep. Outside endless snow kept falling from the sky. Around 50cm of fresh powder must have been dumped on us during the past three days. When I was driving back PJ’s overnight guests yesterday, they asked me if the road we were driving on was a forest track. So much snow had fallen that there was hardly any trace of it left.
Ever-increasing daylight hours have brought leisure and ease to the forest. All the little things that have to be done can now be done in daylight. Seeing what you are doing makes the same tasks feel much easier and actually much faster, so we have more time on our hands. On guest-free afternoons we can sit with the dogs while we tend to the fire to prepare their food. We fetch water in the sun. Sometimes I can stand still and just admire all that daylight.
During a pickup one of the accommodation hosts asked if I started to get tired of the season. I told her it was quite on the contrary and that I feel I have much more energy now than earlier. “December is when I really get tired”. She laughed: I was apparently the first person who ever looked at it that way. But really, when you live with so little, tiny things can make you happy. The warmth of the sun and the ever-increasing bright hours of the day are just such a delight.
The end of the dark season is a tough time, every season again. After the sun has officially risen above the horizon it still takes an undefined amount of time before one can actually see the yellow ball of joy, depending on where you are and how many obstacles are to be found towards the horizon. Besides of a lack of sunlight we found ourselves becoming claustrophobic in the woods, which certainly didn’t help to keep the spirits up during those final dark days.
Just as the best meal can be spoiled by eating too much of it, the finest place on Earth can feel too tight when you end up spending too much time there. “Cabin fever is a term for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group ends up in an isolated or solitary location, or stuck indoors in confined quarters for an extended period. Cabin fever describes the extreme irritability and restlessness a person may feel in these situations.”
Twenty days ago PJ and I left civilisation behind once again and together with 36 huskies we were relocated to a cabin in the woods. When I wake up in the morning and step out of the door they are the first things I see, swinging their tail, jumping around. I see the sky turn into a painting under the polar night. I see the silent white forests, the snow covered trees, the occasional bird. When I go to bed in the evening I hear nothing. No cars, no people, no loud music, no trains, no humming and buzzing. Only the howls in the woods echo in this frozen world.