“Light returns after we have spent time in darkness”

On this edition of Saturdays Around the World, we’re heading north, like really north, into one of the harshest climates on the planet. Aside from enduring the freezing temperatures, the people who live in the arctic zone experience months where the sun doesn’t rise at all. What is that like? How does it feel when the sun finally returns?

Image: The colorful houses along the coast of Greenland. How will the new generation of people who reside in them navigate the changing climate?

City of Sisimiut
Source: Greenland Travel // Flickr

Ice is a staple in Greenland communities. It’s everywhere, completely shaping how they’ve lived for generations. Because of this, they’ve had a front row seat in watching the warming climate change the environment, and in turn, their lives, as the ice thins faster and recedes further from the land year after year on the return of the sun.

Glen Milner, one of the creators of the film we’re featuring today, witnessed the experience of a father and son navigating this changing climate after the sun rose (for the first time in 40 days). He notes in The Telegraph, “the fishermen were already thinking of new ways to hunt and the Inuit attitude in such a harsh environment proved inspiring.” 1

It’s that human ability to keep pushing forward and adapt for a new generation that we want to focus on today as we watch this beautiful film, Return of the Sun, from the talented Glen Milner and Ben Hilton.

As cheesy as it sounds, maybe, when we’re faced with the knowledge that our world is changing, we just need to be reminded that the sun will always rise again. It may not happen today, it may not happen tomorrow, but when the time is right, it will.

But even so,  it turns out most people really enjoy this dark time of the year. It provides a balance, as the writer Madeleine L’Engle once penned, “maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” 3

To get a better idea of what this is like, The New York Times asked their readers to send in photos with a little blurb about the experience of living without the sun. It’s full of inspirational stories–one responder noted that when the sun rises, it’s more exciting than any other holiday. How many of us can say we have a natural occurrence for an annual holiday?

(If you’re curious about how people stay cozy in Greenland and other countries that find themselves in polar nights, check out this great little piece from Visit Greenland.)

4 minutes

Painting with Light

Explore the mindbending and magical work of the remarkable light painter Hannu Huhtamo. His work reminds us that possibility is everywhere!

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If you experience the sun all year, could you imagine being without it? How would you make the best out of less than ideal circumstances? Could they be what introduce you to something awesome?

Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it” – Albert Einstein

Want to explore more amazing parts of the world?

Take a look at where we’ve gone so far! (We’ve gone into Greenland once before in this article)

Saturdays Around the World on EWC

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  1. Salter, Jessica. “First Sunrise After 40 Days of Darkness.” Telegraph, The Telegraph, 12 Jan. 2014, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/good-to-share/10564774/First-sunrise-after-40-days-of-darkness.html. Accessed 8 Feb. 2018.
  2. “Return of the Sun.” Vimeo, Glen Milner, 14 Feb. 2012,  Accessed 7 Feb. 2018. <https://vimeo.com/36782466>.
  3. “A Quote from A Ring of Endless Light.” Quote by Madeleine L’Engle: “Maybe You Have to Know the Darkness before You …” N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2018. <https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/151312-maybe-you-have-to-know-the-darkness-before-you-can>.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.