The president of Finland, Tarja Halonen, has twice lately encouraged the Finns to think higher of themselves. Not in the sense to be proud of who we are and where we come from, no problem there I think, but in the sense of believing in ourselves.
She commented on the issue when we were doing quite bad in the Olympics, and now last night in a television interview (in Swedish with Finnish subtitles).
I don't mean to generalize, but the melancholy and sadness is quite present in Finnish mentality. Perhaps it's the climate; in wintertime, the sun climes above the horizon 6 hours per day where I live, and further up north not at all (called kaamos).
Our black, ironic sense of humour is terrific however (those of you who are unfamiliar with it, read Arto Paasilinna!), and I believe this kind of humour is an instanct for survival. But if you feel sad and gloomy, with the attitude that life's hard and then you die, there will hardly be any world championships coming your way. Halonen does have a point there.
Anyways, I feel the melancholy setting in with all its powers now. Today, we take a giant step towards the winter. It's really windy outside, cold and the leaves are turning yeallow and red. It's darker than before and the obligatory flue is plaguing me.
Ususally, I'm no stranger to positive thinking but the fact of having to endure snow, darkness and cold the next six months does get me down. At times like these, I thank heaven for my ability to see beauty in everything. I think photography is a great life saver here. Instead of getting depressed on how hard life is wintertime here, through the camera lins you see how beautiful life really is after all. (Check out these photos by Jef Maion, for example. They make me happy everytime!)
This doesn't stop me though from going to an orgie of melancholy tonight. Nightwish, a band who thinks that beauty always comes with dark thoughts, is giving a concert tonight... I'll give you a sample on Finnish melancholy, but also pride of who we are. The lyrics is of the song Lappi-Lapland This moment is eternity (from the Angels fall first-album back in 1997).
This Moment Is Eternity
Day possesses no key here
Where moon sheds the cold twilight
This moment is eternity
Land of beauty
Cold and cruel
Fjeld chants echoing
Reflecting the melancholy
Trust the wind
Trust the fire
Call for the hermit
The hermit of the night
Land of raven