Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rods and Cones

I was riding with my dad in his truck last night after a trip to Sturgis in the Northern Black Hills and I was amazed at how well I could see in the dark, especially as the light from a nearly full (and Blue) moon illuminated the snowy hills. Thinking about this, I realize that a good deal of my waking hours in Iceland are going to be spent in darkness like this. So long cones, I'm putting you on hold while me and my rods become good friends.

I'm kinda a science nerd. I graduated from Doane College in Nebraska a year and a half ago with a B.S. in Physics, so light and optics interest me. The cones in the eye are photoreceptors that help a person to see color, the rods help a person to see light. I am a night person, so I'm hoping that not having much light won't affect me much. One of my favorite activities to pursue in the evening is running. Because my depth perception decreases it seems to me that everything is rushing by me much faster, giving me the sense that I'm cruising.

Darkness isn't always good. In fact, I think I'm different from most people in my appreciation of it. With twenty hours of darkness in the winter, how is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)combated within Iceland and what is the Church's role in fulfilling this wholeness? SAD is a medical condition that is linked to low vitamin D intake or production, and depression. I am curious as to how the long winter nights affect Icelanders. Wikipedia (reliable source that it is) informs me that Icelanders suffer much less from SAD than their Nordic counterparts. The hypothesis is that their greater consumption of fish and maybe a genetic factor, helps Icelanders to stay perky through the winter months.

Continuing on with another depressing theme, my second question concerns Iceland's resiliency in coming back from the hard hits that the recent recession took on the country. How has the recent economic turmoil affected the nation of Iceland and further, the Icelandic Church and how it ministers within the country? I expect that if the Icelandic people are anything like us Americans, finances will play a big part in daily conversation, but I'm not so sure that they are as hung up on consumption as we are.

Finally, in the reading leading up to our trip I feel I have come to know more about Iceland than any other nation except my own. Maybe an overstatement, but Iceland harbors a unique ethnicity that treasures highly its literary past. I wonder what roles do Icelandic sagas, poetry, and literature have in the Modern Icelandic Church?

We leave in two days and I am very excited for this trip. I hope that my rods and cones are up for the challenge because I know that there are many observations to be made as we take a walk in the dark.


  1. Cool, does this mean you'll be a designated driver? I can't see for crap when driving at night.

  2. I love physics, but I can't do the math.