When it comes to Finland, people only talk about winter, snow, how cold the weather is and maybe about the northern lights. I don't understand why they never mention the summer of Finland? Even though it's cooler and shorter than what we are usually used to, it's still fascinating. Especially here in Lapland where the sun doesn't set down from June till mid July.
For those who were not born in one of the Nordic countries, summer means the heat trembling above the asphalt. It's the mute heatwave in the afternoons. The heavy scent of the hot air. The noise of the beach, the salty sweat running down on your skin, flip flops and light summer dresses. The sweaty dust dried on your bare feet. Melting ice cream, cold watermelon, salty boiled corn on the cob. Down there in the south summer nights are equal with starry sky, full moon and nightswimming.
Here in Finland summer is different. Everything starts a bit later. Mayday might be snowy, lilacs don't start to blossom in May, June is also often get and unfriendly. But when the nature finally wakes up from its long dream, it's worth everything! Finnish summer is green, fresh and vivid. Finnish summer is the blue lakes, the sunbeams dancing on the waves, the golden rye fields, the late night sunsets shining like rubies. Boating, the scent of strawberry, the burning wood in the sauna next to the lake and grilled corn. It's wearing wind jacket and rubber boots. Swimming naked at 10 pm in the sunshine.
The Nordic summer night is light. There's no darkness here, only dusk. It's constant twilight without darkness. The norther you go, the more sunshine you get! Close to the Arctic Circle from June till mid July there's no sunset at all. The sky is starless. There's no moon. Performed in the midnight sun into your eyes. Shadows on the wall are supported, creeps in between the stripes of the shutter. Night to day is not distinguished by the lightness but by the number of people walking down the street. If you can't see anyone, it's night. If you can see only a few, then it's daytime.
Since I've been living in Lapland, I saw the bonfire under the midnight sun. I saw the golden bridge crossing the river in the middle of the night. Orange-painted pine branches and seagulls flying into the rising smoke of the bonfire. I saw the sun shining bright at 4 am.
Finnish summer is different. The nightless nights of Lapland can't be compared to those hot, moonlit summer nights at all. Still … I do believe, if you have ever stood by the river Kemijoki under the midnight sun, you will always long for Lapland. No matter the path of wherever your life takes you.