Stunning sunrises are easily-available things, really, but how often do we choose to stand and drink in that life-affirming sight? Not often enough, I suspect. I know I don’t – I’m usually either still asleep (summer) or doing something supposedly more important (winter).
But this morning I’m up and ready and the world is mine alone in which to do as I please. And to watch the arrival of a new day, from my outstanding vantage point on the edge of a frozen lake in deepest Lapland – it’s about as close to a religious experience as this atheist is ever going to get.
Why do we, as a species, find beauty in some things and not in others? What evolutionary advantage could there be to the appreciation of such a sight – and why aren’t other species doing it? Why exactly have we become pre-programmed to revere and awe these operatic natural displays?
The mountains beckon, and I soon hit them from the east; just as an incoming warm front hits them from the west. Clouds boil close above me and appear to move at supersonic speeds; the temperature screams upward. By lunchtime I’m sweating and considering diving into a lake just as soon as I can find one that’s not frozen over.
And by late afternoon, the mercury has soared to a totally tropical 3°C – yes, that’s right, a positive number! It’s insane – this is the farthest north I’ve ever been, up in the mountains a few kilometres shy of the Arctic Circle, and it’s mid-winter – yet the temperature is thirty-six degrees warmer than it was a fortnight ago. Nowhere else have I experienced such unstable lurchings of climate as here in Scandinavia.
I leave the battery in my camera rather than keeping it in my clothes – and my lens has never had so much fun. This assortment is a poor substitute for the actual journey through these otherworldly valleys and waterways, but I hope that you get the gist nonetheless.