An ordinary Day in January

The weather has been as beautiful as it can be in the first month of the year up in the north. It is cold, from minus 10 to minus 20 degrees Celsius and clear sky. I try to catch it with my camera. There are so many moments through the day. The special morning light before the sun arrives, at sunrise of course and when the sun starts the sunset. It does not end there, evening light can be really special and for the clever ones, the northern light. I look outside all the time and try to plan where and when I will take photos because I can’t stay out all the time. I get exhausted and need to rest.

morninglight 1

Some days the colors are spectacular

Today I will go for the early morning light. Yesterday it was spectacular. I leave the warm bed, looking outside; take a decision – grab yoghurt and a cup of tea to go. North or south? In the south, there are some clouds, perhaps the red colors will arrive.

reindeer

Reindeer besides the road

I drive to one of my favorite places and when I arrive a reindeer shows up. I stop the car and suddenly several reindeers come out of the forest. They group themselves beside the road. I try to take photos without scaring them away. Not exceptionally photos, but nice to be there. After a while they return to the forest and I take a stroll to the sea.

But I realize that the red colors will not show up. Try some shots anyway, perhaps some photos are ok. My fingers are cold and I pack up and return home.

Later this day I’m going to pick up our friends little boy after school. I show up a bit early, going to the shore to take some quick photos. I get a glimpse of an animal in the sea, it is an otter. He disappears, but when I’m standing there he returns. I realize he’s hunting fish. The little animal comes and goes through the water, jumps up and down. I try to catch him for about five minutes; luckily I get some good shoots. A bit out of air I go for the boy and we drive home.

What should the moral be? I feel privileged. On regular daily trips I can see reindeer, moose, eagles, otters and a lot of birds, perhaps a little hare. It is really good to know these creatures are living besides us, showing up now and then. And it is not so easy to plan what to photograph. Neither the sun nor the animals do as I expect and that’s the best, all the surprises through a day. Tomorrow is another day and new possibilities to explore more.

 

The Sun, my Father

In these northern areas sun has played a central role for living. And the most important is her absence. I call her a she, but in Sami culture the Sun is a he. In the autumn she slowly disappears, to 21.th November when she stays under the horizon until January 21th. Then the Polar Night rules the show. And in these times we can enjoy it to the

polar night 2

The blue light is typical for the polar night period

fullest. The pallet of pastels in the sky, northern lights and the moon coming and going.

People who lived before us struggled through wintertime. The most challenging for poor people living by the coast, was to have enough food – for themselves and for their cows and sheep. The animals were the assurance when fisheries didn’t go well, and the sheep gave wool to clothes necessary to survive in these areas. These people waited for the sun, and for spring. Times when weather conditions no longer were so harsh.

Polar night

polar night gives a special light

The Sami people have lived both at the coast and in the inland. Most well-known are the Sami living with their reindeer herds, moving from inland to the outer coast and back again each year. The coastal Sami lived by the coast all the time, used all resources nature could give.
Old Sámi faith, usually understood as shamanistic, had a spiritual leader, the noaidi. To communicate with gods, and spirits and do all the other stuff he could do, he had a drum which he used when he put himself into trance. The drum was the central tool for the noaide carrying out his tasks. On the drum each one had painted symbols. The sun was one of these symbols, and some drums have them in a central position of the drum.
Do you want to know more? http://www.saivu.com/web/index.php?giella1=eng

A famous Sami artist, Nils-Aslak Valkeapää (1943-2001), have made this poems called “The sun, my father” (Beaivi, Áhčážan). You can find him on you tube, reading poems and singing songs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qjF6qAMvys reading in Sami
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Efu-tnZt_mU singing the traditional Sami song called joik

Reindeer

He just waited

Sami and Norwegian people had and still have their lives in these northern areas. Some places they lived side by side, other places more separated. Sami and Norwegian, two different people also mixed together in a lot of different ways. The sun in the north, he – or she – is central for living here for all of us. We wait for her.
When she returns we have a celebration, a “sun day”. We even have these buns called sun buns. You will get fat if you eat too many, I promise.