|Christmas day morning at 9 am.
I have said it before, so no need to repeat myself, winter nights are loong and dark up here in the North. This creates havoc in the brain which needs light to get active in the morning. So what to do, when it is still pitch dark at 7.30, my preferred getting up time over the year?
After many decades of confusion, I have at long last found the answer to this question. You simply have to stay awake a wee bit into the morning hours. If you manage to keep going (by reading, watching TV or working) until, say, 2 am, this will give you a sound 7 hours' sleep until 9 am, when the first rays of the sun will tickle your nose and lure you out of bed.
On Christmas morning, I had pinpointed it correctly. When I rose and stumbled out on the balcony, still half asleep, the very first sun rays already tickled the high risers across Hammarby Sound; the title picture bears witness. It was 9.13 am and time to start a new day.
In contrast, I was up far too early three days later. An eery silvery light shone through the drapes and made my sleepy brain wonder what the world was up to now. This had to be investigated, my subconscious told me, and my conscious self obliged by sliding out of bed and get going.
|Hammarby Sound at 8 am three days after Christmas.
It was quite cold out there on the balcony, and I was shivering mightily in my thin pajamas. The reason was obvious. During the night, temperatures had fallen considerably and snow was covering the quays like a white blanket. Real winter had arrived at long last after sensationally warm Christmas weather. Only a few days earlier, on winter solstice day, day time temperature was higher than on Summer Solcstice day in late June!
I first thought that it was the snow who caused the silvery shine reigning over quay and water. But that was not the only reason. After admiring the views eastward for a while, I eventually turned westward and saw, to my big surprise, a full moon hovering over the canal in that direction.
|Full moon over Hammarby Canal at 8 am.
Now, I have lived in my apartment for 7 years already, but never before have I witnessed a full winter moon early in the morning. "Thank you!", brain, for noticing the silvery shine and getting me out of bed early to savor its splendor! Isn't it wonderful to make such new experiences at an advanced age?
Having said that, time to look ahead. New Years Eve is upon us! Since I will be otherwise engaged at the right time, I take this premature occasion to wish you, my hardy and patient readers
|Stockholm in Winter 2010. Building site for railway tunnel in the foreground.