As you know, I live in Alaska. It is amazing how many people still believe certain myths. If you’ve ever read Tundra Comics, you know the author capitalizes on misconceptions and myths that have originated up here and elsewhere.
I love when those letter exchanges open between classes down states and here in Alaska. One of the first questions is “Do you live in igloo’s”. I have no idea where that particular question began.
Yes I have seen an igloo made of ice but it was built during cultural heritage week. The upper elementary students go outside to the lake, cut blocks of ice and make one but no one lives in it. I was told an igloo is actually used by hunters when they are out for extended periods of time.
One year we go so much rain, we joked around about selling igloos made of mud due to a lack of cold……LOL. Seriously, in all the time I’ve lived up here, I have never seen an igloo used in a real situation. Most of my hunter friends live in tents when they hunt in the winter.
Another lovely myth is we have 6 months of sunlight and 6 months of darkness. That is not quite true. We may have longer times of darkness or light but no one turns a switch to make it dark or light. The reality is that we loose a certain number of minutes per day until about December 21st and then begin gaining it again till around June 21st. It is a very gradual process.
Honestly, it is so gradual, you really don’t notice it until one day, you look out the window and its dark outside at 9 am. Then its 11 am and the sun is finally up and you realize half your morning has passed in the dark. On the other end, you notice the sun is going down at 5:30 in the evening and pretty soon its still light at 11 pm. You wonder where the time has gone.
The first year or two people tend to notice it more. They are ready for bed about 2 hours after it gets dark. Its a hard adjustment. One way to fight it, is to have all the lights on to help the body adjust and stave off the depression which haunts the new people who move up here.
I’ve lived in a place, just north of the arctic circle where we had one hour of daylight on the winter equinox. Yes it was different and hard to get used to but there is one thing that makes life bearable with so much darkness.
Sunrise or sunset is not a quick process. In the morning, the sky changes from a dark blackish blue to a vibrant cobalt blue before movies into a almost sky blue as the sun bursts across the horizon bathing the landscape in fire. At night the sun sets and the sky darkens through a cobalt to the dark blackish blue.
And in the darker hours, the aurora bursts forth and races across the sky, flaring forth in green, purple, pink, and yellow, swirling and dancing across the sky.
Something I’ve never seen down states, at least not to the extent as up here. The pictures only capture a moment in time and do not show its beauty and vitality. If you get a chance, some see it in March or October.