Different light

Predictably, one of the biggest shocks of visiting Sweden in mid-July was the sunlight. I was ready for the late evenings: on our first day the sun set at nearly 10 PM, making for a glorious half-lit walk after dinner. I was less prepared for the pre-4 AM sunrise. Our first week never technically passed nautical twilight before catching up again with the sun; we learned to close the black-out curtains at bedtime to avoid an early wakeup call.

16 July 2015
16 July 2015

But the shallow, persistent sunlight had its charms. Evenings near the waterfront were painted gold and blue—even in bad weather. Our first weekend brought a sudden downpour, followed as quickly by a double rainbow east over Lindhagensgatan.

The only constant is change: within our first two weeks, the time between sunset and sunrise had lengthened over an hour, including several minutes of astronomical twilight (still no true night). It’s easy to feel connected to the earth’s rotation here—and Sweden’s wealth of famous astronomers (Arrhenius, Celsius, and Ångstrom even got their own equations).

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