After flying for 15 hours I checked into the Hilton at the Helsinki Airport May 29th and fell into a fitful sleep. I felt gobsmacked by vivid dreams and the odd state of jet lag: too awake to sleep and too sleepy to be awake.
I woke up after four hours and pulled open the drapes to look out at a sunny Finnish day. It was 4 AM.
After checking out I rode the train to Tampere where I spent three days hiking the city, taking photographs, napping and adjusting to the new location and time. I had been told to expect 20 hours of daylight, but it’s continual. Those four hours of “night” are like dusk. You can walk around easily without a flashlight.
I imagined I would never get used to it, and yet last night I slept a full eight hours. As I write this I’m looking out onto a gorgeous rural landscape: forests, a freshly plowed field (planted recently with Canola I’m told) and an azure body of water, Lake Parilanjärvi. What’s green is amazingly green — neon green. It rained yesterday, and the wind has been ferocious.
I love all of it, every last bit. I have a month ahead of me to focus on too-many-to-complete writing projects. It’s early; this Residency lasts until June 30th. I’m holding on to the idea I can finish one of them. Why not believe that?
The other residents have arrived, trickling in from England, Argentina, Switzerland, Poland, Australia, Germany… tonight we meet for the first time as a group at 7 PM. I’ve already met a few of them.
It’s 5:45 PM now, and I’ve been writing since this morning at 7 — rough drafts of two chapters of a new novel, long emails to loved ones in California and Texas, this post for the blog, and several hours of revision on new poems.
Exhaustion, that’s how I would describe what I’m feeling, the good kind, due to hard work that makes you imagine you can do anything.
24 hours of daylight? Hey. Bring it on.