Sunshine and Mirrors

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

“Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” ~James M. Barrie


“Sunshine, sunshine in my soul today.” Don’t you just love the sunshine songs in the church hymn books? Don’t you just love the sunshine, especially in the winter time? 

The change from Daylight Savings Time this week has me noticing how the night comes quicker. Too quick, most people say. I know that we actually have the same amount of daylight today as we did last week. It’s only our clocks we have messed with, but somehow when it starts getting dark an hour earlier, according to those turned back clocks, you notice the night coming more. But we do have plenty of sunshine if you can get outside to enjoy it before the daytime slides away. I took the above sunny picture last fall. Plenty of bright sunlight then. 

The Norway town of RJukan

But it’s not that way for everybody. Enter this little town in Norway, Rjukan, tucked in between some mountains so that for six months out of the year, the residents have to take a cable car up the mountain to see any sunshine. The town has quite a history. It was established by industrialist Sam Eyde to provide workers for a hydroelectric plant he located at the foot of a nearby waterfall. 

Mirrors to the rescue

Photo by Terje Bendiksby, AP

A hundred years ago, Eyde came up with the plan to put mirrors on top the mountain to reflect sunlight down into the town. He never saw that idea come to fruition, but now it has. On Wednesday, sunlight reflected off three 183-foot mirrors reached the town square and for the first time ever the residents felt the winter sun in the town. The residents cheered, wore sunglasses, played volleyball and some even brought out their lounge chairs to sit and soak up the reflected sunshine. 

A Town with a History

This wasn’t the first time this little town made the news. The town was occupied by the Germans during World War II and Hitler was using the factory to try to develop the atomic bomb. Twelve Norwegian saboteurs parachuted into the nearby tundra and survived the freezing temperatures to destroy the factory’s “heavy water” plant. Their bravery inspired a Hollywood movie in 1965 and now a TV series is planned. 

The Surprises of Research 

You start out looking for one thing and then oftentimes, you find something even more interesting that you weren’t expecting. I’d heard the mirrors reflecting the sunshine down on their town square mentioned on the radio last week, and then I find out the role this little town and its people played in the history of the world. That’s the way research is and what makes it fun for the historical writer.   

So the town has known dark days not related to the lack of sunshine, but they’ve also known dark winter months every year. But now, the sun shines from the mirrors down into their town square. The lady I heard on the radio said the townspeople would be willing to share the spot of sun with one another.

 Some days you just have to create your own sunshine. ~Sam Sundquist

If you want to read more about the little town of Rjukan, here are a couple of links where I found my information.

Again, thanks to all of you who played my mystery photo game. I have one of my winners, Sharon, but I haven’t heard from Mary Preston. Mary, if you read this, please either leave info here on how to contact you or contact me at annhgabhart(at)yahoo(dot)com. If I don’t hear from you before Sunday, I’ll have to draw a new winner. 

Thanks for reading. Wishing for plenty of sunshine to shine down on you. And me too!