Pages from the Arctic Archive III

It’s that season up here when there is no darkness. It’s late enough that the sun does set, which means it dips below the horizon, but it comes right back up! The first night, I’m told, the sun was only below the horizon for maybe twenty minutes. But cloudy weather prevented me from witnessing it, and a few days later, the sun remained below the horizon for a few hours. The sky remained a pretty pink and orange, stuck in twilight until dawn once again triumphed.

It’s kind of like very long summer days, except I never know when to sleep exactly. The clocks say one thing, the sky says another. Even at 4am you can still see perfectly. If we weren’t on a strict schedule: breakfast at 8, make an excursion, lunch at 1, have another excursion, dinner at 7, etc, I’m sure my inner clocks would be all askew with never sleeping and waking at the right times.

I’ve always enjoyed waking up to daylight, and so I’ll usually sleep with the blinds open so that I’ll know when it’s morning and time to wake up. But here, I sleep when it’s daylight and wake up when it’s still daylight. It feels less like sleeping and more like very long naps, which is a strange feeling for being on vacation, a time when I normally very much like sleeping all the time.

I’ve never realized just how much I feel the need to be productive during daylight hours until that was all I had. There’s a niggling in the back of my mind that I should be doing something more with my time, whether it’s research or reading or whatever activities are on this ship, which aren’t too many. It’s mostly watching the ocean for whales, watching the land for polar bears, watching the ice for birds and seals. And yes, that is all the point of being here, but it just doesn’t feel like enough.

But I don’t know if I miss nighttime/darkness necessarily. After having been here for a week, darkness almost feels unnecessary. I’m so used to just having daylight all the time, it’s really kind of delightful. I just want to be doing so much more than I am, but what is so much more? Am I not doing enough already? Should I have picked up a hobby or two that’s not wildlife based just so I can feel like I’m using the daylight to it’s best potential? Should I stop sleeping entirely so I can always be doing something? And yet, and yet, what could be more than what I’m already doing?

Amendment from LA: Nighttime is strange. I have to turn on lights. I can’t see anything in my house in the dark? I can’t get over this. Also, it’s SO dark. Was it always this dark? I swear it wasn’t this dark before I left for the Arctic. What is this.

Amendment a month later from LA: I kinda miss forever daylight. I want more of that now.

Twilight and dawn all in one.
A sunset. Or a sunrise?