I am being held captive by our TV set. I suddenly lost my voice on Monday and ever since I have been half sunk in the sofa. No sight of her yet. And it’s Midsummer. The biggest and bravest of them all.
It is traditional in Finland to spend Midsummer night outside barbequing with friends and admiring the Midnight Sun. Quite often it rains at this time of the year but still people try their best to follow the tradition. Last night, however, quite many found themselves watching TV even though it didn’t even rain, and to my surprise I didn’t feel left out after all. The National Broadcasting Company had successfully brainstormed a train ride to Polar Circle with some Finnish celebrities but also some regular people. There were interviews, music and fantastic sceneries shot from a helicopter that followed the train all the way up to Rovaniemi. Another camera was placed in the locomotive and it also provided pretty addictive footage. You can see the whole 13-hour live broadcast in their website and if you’d like to see the Midnight Sun, just pick a spot with aerial footage to watch, maybe you’ll even see some bonfires, no need to follow through the whole program. Finns have been really hyped up today about this beautiful broadcast. For me it provided a wonderful way to experience the Midsummer Night from my own sofa not risking my recovery since I have planned a trip for next week so I’m really hoping to get well before that.
To continue today with my sofa journey I saw a fantastic documentary about a professional dancer Juho Saarinen who has been deaf all his life. He experiences music through the waves of sound that he feels in his body. The film is in English so if you have half an hour to spare it is well worth watching. For some reason I’ve bumped into the topic of music recently and as an addition to all that discussion it was the perfect thing to watch with its numerous scenes with heartfelt dance and aesthetics as well as its unusual sound design. If you are into dance or music or even visual art, you might enjoy it as well. In the interview bits Juho Saarinen talks about the hardship he had as a young boy when people didn’t understand how difficult it was for him to learn to pronounce words correctly and how he was mistaken for a trouble maker when he just tried to get help from his friends in a situation where he didn’t know what was required of him. He didn’t like using hearing aids which only made him feel faulty and the sounds weird and scary. He considers sign language as his mother tongue and Finnish as a foreign language. However, no one realized this when he was little, but instead just tried desperately to make him use Finnish even though he didn’t have any language at all. Even though I enjoyed listening to his story in the role of an educator, most of all I enjoyed trying to imagine how the sounds waves feel to him and thinking about the way in which music has such a huge and holistic impact on us all.
It is Midsummer Day, the day for dance. All the retired barns scattered around the endless coutryside in this half deserted land will be crowded with summer folks in their floral gowns and shirts all set and ready to do the Summer Evening Waltz all night long, even though it is pouring rain now. No dancing for me though, I’ve been stood up by my physic and these festivities will stand on hold for me until next year. Not to worry though, when I listen carefully I think I can hear the rhythm of the rain drops.