Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Subarctic summer thoughts

I spent much of the night reading (Andrew Birkin's remarkable, eerie J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys) and was suddenly struck by the thought of how lovely the Finnish climate really is. Now this is an attitude not to be expected - I would recommend trying the pitch dark, wet and cold November with the silent, grim, huddled people to anyone lightly exclaiming the very same sentiment. Or the biting December winds bringing sleet from the Baltic with the day lasting all of five hours in the south and none in Lapland. But now the day lasts almost 20 hours (and 24 in the north) and the air is warm and sweet and the nature suddenly burst to life (to be extinguished again in a matter of mere months). It is this violent contrast that makes the experience so strong and memorable. Further towards the tundra and the summer will be too faint to register and the winter too dominating and to the south the light and dark will be more mixed, less violently opposed, and the summer warmth longer and more reliable (last summer we had almost no hot days at all). This is an exhausting mixture (for these few mad, energy bursting weeks we have in exchange long dark months of fall and winter), but exhilarating also: a crazy, manic-depressive year, violently alternating between extremes of light and dark, of cold and warmth...

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