The Blue Time

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There are two main definitions of The Blue Time – the first is the time just before sunrise when everything in the world has a blue tinge to it. The farther north you go, the longer the blue time in the winter.  The second definition is that time when you’re depressed, time moves slowly, you feel like you’re in a daze, and like you’re just broken. For many people who live in northern locations, their experience of winter leans heavily toward that second definition.

The combination of dark and cold can sink them into a despair that descends like clockwork every winter. The people of Tromsø, Norway experience two months of darkness, or "Polar Night", in the winter. However, research shows that folks in Tromsø are happier than you might expect, despite the lack of sun. Kari Leibowitz went to Tromsø to figure out what makes the people there flourish during the cold dark winters, and how she might use that information to help others cope better with winter. 



Vanessa Lowe


Vanessa Lowe

Music: Nocturne theme music by Kent Sparling

Additional music: Kent Sparling \\ Gunnar Madsen \\ Jeffrey Foster

Producer: Vanessa Lowe

Other credits: Thanks to the folks who shared their impressions of winter: Brie O'Keefe,Tally Abecassis, Eric Heilman, Thomas Nybergh, Marius, Nila, Segrel, Sal, and Christine. 

Thanks to Thomas Nybergh for interviewing and recording people in Helsinki, Finland. He produces the podcast, Very Finnish Problems.

Read more about Kari Leibowitz’s research on Tromsø.

Sound recording of melting ice in Greenland by Jacob Kirkegaard

Episode artwork: Robin Galante