You Are Here

Just being on another part of the earth’s surface can, it turns out, reinvigorate your sense of wonder.
you are here

The earth is a not-quite-round ball in an orbit that’s not quite a circle around the sun. The earth spins, too, around an axis that’s tilted compared to the orbit around the sun. This accident of geometry gives us our seasons, the longer days that come when the half of the planet we live on swings towards the sun as the earth rounds that star again. The longer days bring more sunlight, and the sunlight brings warmer temperatures, the light and warm air bringing the plants and animals to life. They tell us these things in grade school, when each extra moment of summer evening light feels like a blessing. Then slowly, as we get older, the seasons somehow become somehow more routine, something to dress for instead of something to revel in.

But Hamburg is nearly in Denmark, at the latitude of Edmonton, Dublin, and Newfoundland, and the seasons here are dramatic. Friday night 3000 people ran 7 km around the lake in the middle of the city in a race that started at 10 pm, and Sunday was the longest day of the year—did you notice? Here it was hard to miss. The sun rose before 5 and the last glimmer of the limb dropped below the horizon just before 10, and even then evening lasted all night. It was light enough to read outside until 11, and in the first warm weather in weeks this seemed like the best possible way to spend an hour. And had you been up in the night to care for a sick child, and had you looked north, you would have seen a band of light in the sky, a reminder that in the Arctic not so far from here the sun doesn’t set at all, and that morning and the new day is never far away at this time of year. And there will be strong coffee and good bread for breakfast.

Subscribe to Gourmet