Friday, 28 December 2012


In Norse mythology, the wolf Sköll always chased after Sol, the sun. When Ragnarök, the end of the world, came about, Sköll managed to catch Sol and devour her. Thus, darkness fell upon the world.

A few centuries later, scientists have figured out that vitamin D (which the sun helps our bodies to produce) is essential for our well-being. Without it we feel tired, slow, depressed. As you might expect, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is most common during the winter months. The Vikings had it right. When the world disappears into darkness every year, nature goes into sleep. The world ”dies”. And people go into a sort of hibernation. Then, when the sun comes up again, the world is born anew.

Yesterday, some light was still lingering on the horizon at 3pm. This morning, the sun was already on its way up at 8am. Ragnarök has been and gone. The sky was cloudless, a rare occurrence this month, when it's snowed most every day. I left our flat around 9.30 and stepped out into a crispy -20. I braced myself; I had left my Lungplus at home, not having used it once this year, but then again I had never run in such low temperatures before. I jogged towards the river, trying to breathe through my nose to give the air a chance to get warmed up on its way down to my lungs. But, as the pace got faster, I found it progressively harder to inhale enough air through my nose to power my body. It didn't matter. The cold air proved to be no problem.

When I reached the river, I got punched in the gut by the sheer beauty of the place. There was a layer of ice and snow on the water surface, matching the surrounding gardens and rooftops, but where the river broke through, the water turned into steam. It was out-worldly. It looked like fairies were dancing on the ice.

I followed the path upwards to higher ground and there it was: a big, fat, orange disc of life shining behind the trees and the houses, still low on the horizon but definitely on its way up. Sol was back, bringing back life into the world, giving birth to a new spring, and awakening hope in people's hearts.

The wolf has gone to sleep after its long chase. The sun is safe for another year.

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