Editor’s Notes

Winter light: Searching for beauty and brightness


Photo courtesy of Sami Siida
In our current issue, we travel to a Sami cultural center in Alta, Norway, “the northern lights city.”

Dear readers and friends,

Every year, it seems that some of us slip into the winter doldrums. It can be the weather, the long nights of darkness, and as of late, a pandemic that seems to be never-ending. It is no wonder that many people who live in northern latitudes may fall into lethargy and even depression with a lack of light. 

In our last issue, we talked about the concept of Norwegian kos, creating an atmosphere of warmth and coziness in your home to combat this winter darkness. Those of us who light the fireplace and a few candles and then cuddle up in a warm blanket with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa know that it really does work.

But in Norway, there is a phenomenon that trumps any home hygge effort: the aurora borealis, the northern lights. These dancing waves of color appear in the night sky, a spectacular winter light show that dazzles scientists and spectators alike. The northern lights come as a special gift in the middle of winter, as if nature knows we need beauty and brightness in our lives when the skies are the darkest.

So, here at The Norwegian American, we thought it was most appropriate to present the northern lights with this winter issue, as we take you to Alta, “the northern lights city” in northern Norway. Here you will experience a Sami adventure with Tove Anders­son, our Norwegian correspondent based in Oslo. As we travel with Tove, we learn about Sami life firsthand, with reporting that is lively, direct, and personal. It’s a very special experience.

Of course, our winter issue would not be complete without a special feature focused on the northern lights themselves. We hope you will enjoy learning more about what this spectacular natural phenomenon is all about and how you can best experience it for yourself. And then there is the fantastic photography to enjoy. It’s something we pride ourselves on at The Norwegian American, together with the extraordinary layout skills of our design editor, Mattea Bertling.

Our winter saga then continues with a special feature about the evolution of the ice palace to the ice hotel by Cynthia Elyce Rubin, our travel editor. A historian at heart and a vintage postcard collector, Cynthia is always able to offer her own unique perspective on a story, and I am convinced that after reading her story, she will have us all wanting to sleep in an ice hotel or at least have a long cold drink at an ice bar—skål!

Yes, our newspaper is able to boast about an amazing roster of talent, not in the least Jerry Holt, who every month brings us his Crime Corner feature. While Jerry’s winter reportage is gruesome in a very “icy” way, a good crime novel, movie, or television episode can be a good antidote to the winter boredom and blues. 

As the Olympics continue, we are also beginning to look toward the Paralympics, which are so inspiring—and our sports editor, Michael Kleiner, is second to none. We also have a series of articles about Ski for Light, which are sure to bring even more inspiration to you.

That is our goal at The Norwegian American: to make your life better, to bring beauty and brightness to it. We hope you will enjoy this winter issue and wish you many hours of happy reading.

Lori Ann Reinhall
Editor-in-chief, The Norwegian American

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 18, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.