Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Permanent daylight

1/400 Shutter speed, f. 5.6, canon EFS 75-300mm

Some years ago I traveled around Russia, for five weeks, with a folklore group I was playing music with at the time. One of the things that I remember the most from that glorious time- in the peak of my teenage years- is the time that I spent in Arkhangelsk. This region is located not very far from the polar circle, and during the summer period, daylight lasts for 24 hours. The Russians, and some Scandinavians call them "the white nights".
The group stayed for 2 weeks, traveling small distances within the same region. For almost 14 days I did not see anything resembling the night. It was absolutely mental. People were actually going a little bizarre just by the lack of night.

My friend and I were standing on some rocks by the sea, looking at the water crash onto the reef. Almost expecting an immediate answer I ask him whether he knows what to do with his life after this trip has come to its end, or even more so, when we finish university.
He has no clue, and I can not really say anything either, just because I ignore the whereabouts of my life in the next few years.

Thinking in silence for a while, a challenging and recurrent idea comes to my mind.
What if I stay here, on this side of the world and see what the future brings?. Start from square one. Not knowing anybody, not even the most spoken Eastern European languages, or having a secure job. All I had with me was a few clothes I had brought for the two and a half months long trip and my guitar. "What if", still ringing in my head and although i never considered the idea seriously, the simple thought of it gave me some certain adrenaline rush, and an almost guilty smile every time it came about.

The White Nights of Arkhangelsk gave me a full different view of myself. I explored a different terrain of perception and atmosphere; for some reason, made me question whether my short stay should remain short.

After a 9 hour bus ride and some of the most incredible drunken bus jams, we are in a town several hundred miles south of Arkhangelsk. Everyone was in such good spirits, singing along and buying illicit alcohol from our very own bus driver. It wasn't until the bus made a petrol stop that we noticed. It was dark outside. After two weeks of continuous daylight, we finally got given the blessing of the night. Most of the people in the bus recovered their sanity almost right away. Some of us were not so lucky.

Maybe mine is still hanging on to the weird idea of going somewhere unknown, and start something amazing. Maybe it is still there, in my head.

I fucking well hope so.