Saturday, October 21, 2006

Glum-and-gloom moon

There is nothing quite as grey as Helsinki in October. Unless it is Helsinki in November, although November does tend to go more towards the brown scale, which is possibly even more miserable. I used to like to play the Tom Waits song "November" (badly, I am afraid) on the piano this time of the year, but now all my music is in Hawai'i.

Months are called moons in Finnish, kuu. October is lokakuu, loka being the brown, muddy water you would find in, say, a deep ditch in October, after weeks of rain. Ditchwater moon is a very apt name. November is marraskuu, marras being archaic Finnish for death. Death moon is even apter.

There are some nice "moons", too: January is tammikuu, oak moon. My favouritely-named (if that is a word) is February: helmikuu, pearl moon. But right now, we are in puddle-water moon, and it is bringing out the melancholic introvert in me.

7 comments:

kurt said...

So the most stressful aspect of winter is the approach? If you survive the ditch of death you are strong as an oak, and next thing you know the pearly gates of Spring are around the corner.

It just got cold here today, and I have to walk faster to warm up...

Anna MR said...

It actually is really depressing knowing you have weeks of no daylight ahead of you. The pearls come from the fact that in February, the sun is warm enough to start melting the snow on the branches of trees, creating a pearl of ice on the tips of the branches in the night when temperatures drop again. I always thought that was rather nice.

nmj said...

Honey, I think Scotland in Jan/ Feb could equal Helsinki in November, the days are flat and grey like concrete, you feel the weight on your shoulders. Ah, but kuu is such a beautiful word, I love it!

Anna MR said...

nmj, if vowels make you happy, Finnish has them aplenty, as well as consonants repeated to an astonishing degree. There was some famous (non-Finnish) conductor or another, who went on record saying the most beautiful thing that could be spoken with any human tongue was the Finnish phrase "alavilla mailla hallan vaara", or "danger of frost on open ground", heard very often on the radio weather forecast over here.

nmj said...

Such a beautiful phrase for something so mundane! How do you say, 'Rain, rain and more rain until June' in Finnish? That will be our weather forecast from now on. At least in Finnish it might sound lovely!

Anna MR said...

Rain is "sade", so you might say "saadaan sadetta", (we) will be getting rain...

Anna MR said...

...or indeed, "saadaan sadetta kesäkuuhun saakka", will get rain until June (literally, summer moon!)