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Beware! The Dark Is Rising!

It is September in Helsinki and the Dark is definitely Rising.


Duleepa Wijayawardhana

September 17, 2017

It is September in Helsinki and the Dark is definitely Rising. I suppose I could have used the over-used Game Of Thrones, “Winter Is Coming”, but to be honest, I really mean the Dark.

This is the first country I have ever travelled to where every electronics store prominently displays sunlight simulation lamps. Something rather odd to take note of when one, like me, moves to Suomi in the middle of the midnight sun. But now that we are coming towards mid September, I’m itching to get myself one.

The astute amongst my readers will note that we are not even quite hitting the fall equinox and I’m writing a rather dark and wintry blog. Indeed, I have to note that we are still at almost 13 hours of sunshine. For comparison, Toronto, Ontario, Canada has 12.5 hours of sunshine as I write this. And yet, I am feeling anxious. It’s a weird anxiety about light that I’ve never felt before.

The Sun Graph for Helsinki, Courtesy of

Sun Graph for Toronto, Canada courtesy of

Maybe it’s because every Tom, Jane and Harry (or to be contextual, Antti, Anu and Mikko) has said “Oh gosh, you are going to hate the darkness.” Maybe it’s the prevalence of these sun lamps to remind me of the frailty of the glowing orb in the sky. Maybe it’s something else.

My conclusion as to my sudden anxiety (after all I did live in Edmonton, Alberta: 12:45 of sunlight today) comes from two sources. The first is the love of life Finns display for the summer. It’s almost over the top sun worship with festivals, parties and outdoors time. It’s like the city is practically bouncing like overexcited electrons with joy for every sun beam that courses the sky. I’ve noticed as August has ended and September crosses that equinoctial goal post, life seems… a lot more subdued. Talk of the Dark is more noticeable.

The second source is due to the speed with which the change in light happens. The speed of the disappearance is much more marked at this latitude with, at times, almost 30 mins of real daylight disappearing in a given week. This is of course not unusual for anyone who lives anywhere like Helsinki or Whitehorse, Yukon but I’ve personally only ever experienced this now for the first time. It is not that long ago I can remember stumbling home from the bar at 1am watching the glimmers of a sunrise. So to be here in less than 3 months with barely 13 hours of sunshine, it is a bit of a shock to the system.

In other words, I’m so much more well aware of the physical aspects of the Dark Rising.

As with all things, I will get used to it. And likely I will invest in vitamin D tablets and a sun lamp, and I suspect once the denizens of this fair city come to grips with the Dark, more joyful parties will begin. After all, it’s only another few months till the day starts lengthening anyway.

When the Dark, comes rising, who shall turn it back? Thank goodness we don’t live on a flat earth.

For those who have read it, yes the title and certain lines do pay homage to one of my favourite children’s book series of all time: The Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper.

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