Perpetual daylight and the essence of eternity in Oslo.
Clad in my favourite cashmere sweater and gray suede ankle boots, I lay on a bed of freshly cut grass. The sky was the exact shade of Crayola’s “sky blue” crayon, the kind of carefree sky that you would draw in your kindergarten art class above a chain of bold stick figures with innocent smiles. Artists may tell you that there’s no such colour as white, that everything that appears white is really an array of different shades, but they obviously haven’t seen the clouds that I saw that day. The sun shone on the edges of the dark green conifers, giving warmth to its wintry shade. This was not a midday siesta on a cool autumn day. It was 11:45pm, and the middle of July. In the Botanical Gardens of Oslo, I was experiencing my first of many ‘white nights’ to come.
Scandinavian summers are by far one of the most beautiful things I have ever had the pleasure to behold. In such crisp air, your perspective of everything around you seems to change. Everything seems more lucid: the colours around you are more vivid, outlines more refined. There is something too in that particular shade of dark green of the Norwegian wood that inspires so much romance. From that famous Beatles song to Munch’s fervently evocative paintings, these woods have given birth to a plethora of lasting artistic creations.
In perpetual daylight, it is so easy to lose track of time and forget about it altogether. Roaming the streets at 3 am, one can easily feel like it is just past dinnertime and wonder at how quickly time has flown by. It is curious that one never seems to feel tired when it is light; it was not infrequent that my friends and I would sit around the park all night, talking or strumming around on a guitar until the wee hours of the morning. The magic of white nights lies in their perfect blend of the carefree, cheerful atmosphere of daytime with the enchanting mystery that can only found in the night. Secrets unfold, bonds strengthen, and dialogues pour out with the budding warmth of intimacy. There is an incessant feeling of eternity: conversations last forever; forests have no end; the day is everlasting. Everything is calm and clear, and there is a sense of comfort mixed in with the tingling excitement of endless possibilities.
Like Wordsworth looked to his daffodils for consolation in times of loneliness, I too often find myself comforted by my memories of those whimsical summer nights in the Norwegian woods. Nature sometimes grants us with the most beautiful of gifts, and the white nights in Oslo this summer are definitely among those that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Article written by Chihiro Isozaki.