Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Fleeing the high tide of darkness

Swedes are manic depressives by climate. This time of the year Stockholm is the pits, or should I say, the Pit. The cold, I can take. A cold sunny day with snow is nice, bracing, invigorating. But in November and December there is little snow here, days are rarely sunny, and they last only for a few hours. The darkness, I cannot take. It kills.

The winter solstice is today. We get six hours of daylight. For several weeks every winter, we rise in the dark -- oh Death! oh Crushing Weight! -- spend our days at work, and return home in the dark. This is a life no man or woman was meant to live.

But as infernally evil as our early winter is, as acutely sweet is our brief summer. April through September, I can think of no better place to live than Stockholm. This is the nation's manic phase.

I have a plan. On the other side of the Equator, seasons are reversed.

Stockholm is located about 59 degrees north of the Equator. At 59 degrees south, we find only the uninhabited South Orkney and South Sandwich Islands, and no Gulf stream to warm them. South America extends south to about 55 degrees, but I don't speak Spanish and the weather is crap.

The answer is New Zealand. It extends south to about 47 degrees, everybody speaks English, and much of the place looks like Middle-earth and Narnia. When the weather starts looking grim in Stockholm around 1 October, spring is just beginning in the South Island. All I have to do is live for six months in Stockholm, Sweden, then six months in Dunedin, New Zealand, then back to Stockholm, and so on. Life could be a continuous cycle of spring, summer, spring, summer, spring, summer...

In order to pull this off, all I have to do is become stinkin' rich so I can pay for the air tickets and a second home. Got to find a way out of the Pit.

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