Saturday, July 14, 2007

How to tell the season has turned

There's no doubt about it - the stars have come back. The white nights are over.


Reading the Signs said...

Somehow this feels like good news. Do you not miss the stars during the long white nights?

Anna MR said...

Hei Signs - no, do you know, this was asked of me a little while back (hello, TPE), and it had never occurred to me before even to consider it. No. I don't miss the stars during the white nights - it sounds rather harsh to say that but it's like missing them in the daytime. And, you see, the white nights are short.

Actually - much as I like stars, their return always feels heartbreaking. To me they herald the turning of the season, in the way that now we are heading back towards the eternal darkness of November/December...and redemption didn't come, again. (If you click on my signature link, you'll see a video shot by some Finnish kids during midsummer last year. I dearly, dearly wish they'd had the presence of mind to hold back and not try to go artsy with it (you'll see what I mean - bloody herbs making an appearance etc) because the light in the vid is truly amazing and would have been enough. I chose to add it here anyway because it is surprisingly difficult to find video footage that would really show what the white nights are like. I hope it gives you an inkling as to why, every year, one is fooled into thinking that redemption is possible.)

Oh, I am the Harbinger of Doom and Gloom today, Signs, take no notice of me. Really nice to see you, anyway, even if I'd prefer the stars to stay away.


Reading the Signs said...

That was rather lovely, and I agree about the herbs. The light is the thing. I understand what you say, or rather, I imagine - I can't know, never having lived with the two polarities of endless day and endless night. You must have to store up a great deal of light to see you through the dark months. Interesting that the various festivals of light, including the Christian one, fall always in the darkest time, and you could say that the darkness give this possiblity. Not that I'm trying to stop you harbingering - you know me, darlin, doom and gloom are the cousins of sweet melancholy and are therefore to be given sanctuary, as appropriate.


And qouhk to you!

Anna MR said...

Qouhk indeed, sweet Signs. I have just this instant stopped talking with you over at your house, where I was given highly complex word vers which I cleared, if I may say so myself, with the bad taste we have come to expect of me (sorry, in a raucously good humour this fine Sunday).

Yes, the polarities of light and dark are eminent in the national character too. It really effects the way people are - many of our visitors and the immigrant community say the same, Helsinki (and Finland) is/are like two different cities/countries. People alternately come out of themselves and party and dance and talk neverending bollocks on other people's blog comment sections or mope and sleep and mutter darkly about bad weather in once-a-week four-word entries on their own blog sites exclusively (see evidence attached, Next winter, though, I trust you will gently force me to describe my winter melancholia in excruciating detail (you can help, too, TPE my precious, if you happen to be looking in) (and hei, anyone else too, just mentioning these two because they are the worst in bringing out the bollocks in me, ok?).

One more thing about the darkness, though - it is, as I have just mentioned to young Ms Dark in the thread about my mum's bad housekeeping, not as bad once it happens, it's the sure and certain knowledge, whilst one is still in the light, that it will end, it will end. That really hurts me. Or maybe that is actually what gives the melancholia its painfully beautiful edge. Go figure. Anyway - I would actually like the darkness (shhh, don't tell any Finn, they will kill me for saying that) - we have a word for the time when the sun is hardly up, incidentally, it is kaamos, probably etymologically close to kaamea: horrible, terrifying - if it was properly wintery, with beautiful ice and snow and coldness and your breath falling down in tinkles of tiny icicles. It is the drab slush darkness that kills joy in my soul, the sky being overcast with heavy clouds of rain, and the reflected city lights giving them and the world an apocalyptically-toxic hue of orangey-brown.

Right. I may go and make some coffee now, you'll be pleased to know. And I might just come and stalk you again in a bit, who knows? Certainly hoping to see you again soon, me dear.


Merkin said...

One of my favourite films is 'Night on Earth'.
Gives an enduring view of Finnish melancholia, no?

zola a social thing said...

Thanks for that and all.
After 30 odd years in Lapland I can feel something of what you express.

But, oh my God how romantic you seem.

Tell all this to Helsinki power.OY companies!! Do you?

Tell this to Sami groups? Do you?

But that myth of Finland remains in some ways.
I do not post much here because I hate those word verification things that only make a hassle and all for nothing.
I just signed in as lobir.

Anna MR said...

Hello, Merkin, and sorry for leaving you hanging here, with the house all empty and cold. As is the wont of Finns during the summer months, I was spending some time at my online holiday home...but do you know, somehow I have managed not to hear of this film you mention at all. My only excuse is that in the year it came out (1991 according to IMDB), I was in the depths of rural Wales having babies. I am now grabbed with a strong desire to view it, because it sounds like the sort of thing I usually enjoy. Well done for bringing it to my attention, and thank you.

Anna MR said...

Why Zola, what a delight to see you here. You are right, of course - I am an incurable romantic. Disgraceful, I know, but what can you do. You are born with the genes you are born with, and you just have to make the best of a bad lot.

Of course, over in Lapland your seasonal experience would be even more heightened (you probably still don't have stars, do you?). You will, however, probably escape the slush months and the horrendous shade of permanent cloud cover in the colour of motorway-light orange. Not to say that the fact it is darker and colder is to be sniffed at.

I don't say anything at all to Helsinki power.OY companies, if I can help it. And as regards Sami groups - the Sami have had a bum deal, like all indigenous people. Although, it has to be said, it is difficult to draw a distinct line between the Sami population and the rest of us Finns. I like to think I have Sami blood, via my grandmothers. Don't take my romantic beliefs away from me, Zola...

I know, I know, the word vers are horrid. The only way to deal with them is the inventive one. "Lobir" is good. I think it is something to do with the position of the sun - as in "nadir" and "zenith". Please don't let the word vers discourage you from coming over, Zola. Fun to see you here.

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Anna, Hi Zola,

Word verifications rock! Anna is being very modest by not telling you about the wonderful messages she has received from them. I now rely on them to tell me the meaning of any particular moment. Now, for example, there is "rumgivi". There is festivity in the air, no? And much rum, which I adore (or used to before it did my head in, but the spirit of the thing stands).

Merkin said...

Mr Anna, do get your hands on this film ASAP.
One of the all time greats.
The stereotypes are wonderfully well observed and at one point I was literally rolling about the floor in the cinema where i first saw it.
An all time classic.

Anna MR said...

Signs, you are very generous with your praise. I am a mere learner apprentice in the world of sign-reading, but willing to be instructed further. Rumgivi, it has to be said, is fairly plainspeaking and doesn't require a great deal of interpretation. How very, very apt, for a pirate prince like yourself...

Merkin - I shall look up this film, to be sure. It does sound like a goody.

NMJ said...

hey anna mr, re. lobir, i would like to think of it as a hybrid french/scottish verb, an -ir verb, the infinitive of the verb 'to lob'.

je lobis, tu lobis, il/elle lobit

if you get my drift.


Anna MR said...

NMJ - how very multilingual of you, I love it. My French is sadly worse than terrible, it is nonexistent, so any assistance in that department is highly appreciated. May I suggest that this hybrid Franco-Scotto infinitive is defined as having something to do with the way the sun is lobbed up and down the sky in tropical conditions? - this being something that used to offend me in the tropics, the aggressive way the sun would shoot up in the mornings, the heady plunge away in the evenings (and SO early!) - so violent, so hasty, so unlike our long gentle dusks and dawns (which, granted, sometimes don't develop into a day at all, but hey, they are long regardless, by comparison).


But Why? said...

What a fantastic use for word vers.

I'm staring at qemea, presumably pronounced kem-ee-ah which I think is probably one of two things:

1) In northern dialect, a slang term for "to have arrived", e.g. "I jus qemea an ee's bluddy well 'ad mi pint!"

2) noun, from corrupted contraction of "chemical career". e.g "I might be a consultant now, but in a few years' time, I'd like a qemea."

Apologies, Anna, I appear to have covered your blog in geekery. I'll take myself home now.

But x

Anna MR said...

Dear But - when you get there, you'll find I have just left. We may even have bumped heads in your doorway, I fear, or trodden on each other's toes. Sorry about that.

Geekery schmeekery - these are fine bashings you give the word ver leprechaun. Well done, Dr Why - and please realise that this affliction is something that will stay with you for ever, once caught. I find myself having to comment at people's houses (yes, Signs - sorry) repeatedly because they send the best word vers after I've said what I had to say.


NMJ said...

Anna MR, I am not remotely multi-lingual, those French conjugations are just drummed into my head, and 'lobir' just looked so much like an infinitive to me, I had to tell you.

Yes, I remember even in SF, the sun did lob in and out of the sky somewhat, it was day or it was night, nothing like our long dawnings and duskings.


Merkin said...

'lobette' : my ex-girlfriend.

Reading the Signs said...

hello but why - I think the wonderful thing about the Art of Word Ver-reading is that it lends itself to every kind of approach. I think the ones you have come up with show real talent, and Anna is right - it bites you.

cpout - ouch! (yes, dammit, my car will be, very nearly)

Anna MR said...

NMJ - it is somehow offensive, isn't it? Like the fundamental basics of the physical world had suddenly started to behave themselves wrongly.

Merkin - she used to shoot up and down the sky like a feminine tropical sun?

Signs - I fear we have been like Paris. When we sneeze, the whole blogosphere gets the cold.

*Anna MR goes off to nurse her severe delusions of grandeur*

Merkin said...

One foreign equivalent of 'giving someone the big E' is 'throwing someone in the basket'.

I chucked her.