Helsinki is very quiet. Or is it just our front room? Looking out over the park, I see drifts of light snow hanging off the edges of roofs, cars, rocky outcrops and window ledges. But I see no people. A few lights are on in windows across the back and the front of the house. Boxing Day (or St Stephens Day as Finns know it) seems like a day of quiet even if Stephen’s Dances are a kind of an institution (or was that just in the old days?) for people desperate after 3 days of family to get out of the house.
It’s quiet everywhere, that is, that I can reach. Everywhere that I can reach, that is, without going online to travel the world and finding all kinds of activities that may or may not make me feel more alive. Or more connected.
Nope, I’ll just stay immobile, thanks. I’ll take the opportunity to read books and other old fashioned stuff. This, for instance: a reprint of an album of etchings of Helsinki made in the 1877s. It was a time when people did move and did travel but they did it at a pace that must have given their bodies and minds time to adjust to the displacement.
Seems the elements (the returning repressed?) are conspiring to get more and more people to stay in place. The Brits, impatient to be constantly on the move it seems, aren’t taking the coldest December ever lying down though [seems you did travel online, Ed?!].
The UK government is considering fining those who fail to fix the problems the elements cause. The elements, after all, are bad for business (though Boxing Day sales are apparently doing well in the UK). In Britain someone is always expected to make unexpected (forecast but still extreme) conditions seem as if nothing had happened to disrupt the normal flow of business. So BAA is to be fined if it doesn’t make flying easier…
The Finns, perhaps with a more intimate relationship with the elements, are being encouraged to avoid travel today if they can. The roads are in an atrocious state almost across the country. And as our intrepid reporter reports, no sign of sales here.