A place where you can hear yourself think

The water frozen over in Stockholm in March 2010
The water frozen over in Stockholm in March 2010

Even though I’d experienced snow before, my visit to Sweden earlier this year was the first time I’d REALLY experienced snow. Not just a little bit of snow at an Australian ski resort, but snow that was sometimes a few metres deep. Snow that varied in colour and texture :)

It was also the first time I’d ever walked on a frozen river or lake. With an ever so slight trepidation I followed in the foot-steps of others and relished the liberating feeling of walking on snow and ice, and yet knowing and fearing that, if I’d taken the wrong step, I could have plunged to an icy, watery depth on the other side of the world.

For just a moment tonight I was taken back to my experiences with snow.

The other day, my fellow Scandophile, Liam mentioned in a comment on my blog a Swedish band, Hello Saferide, who sing in English. They’re the English language band of the singer, Annika Norlin, who I discovered through her Swedish language band, Säkert!

Liam described Hello Saferide in these terms…

The songs are wonderful, and she’s without a doubt my favourite lyricist: her words are poetic, with the sweet turns of phrase unique to Scandinavian speakers of English. Each song is a wonderful short story: hopes for the child she could have had with her ex, waiting for a new lover to come back from a holiday, wishing she was a lesbian because she loves her best friend so damn much. Playful, everyday, lovely stuff.

And so tonight I went online to find out a little more about them.

That’s when I discovered the song “Arjeplog” by Hello Saferide. It’s a song about getting out of Stockholm and spending time in the countryside at any place in particular, I assume, but in this song, it’s a small town in the Sweden’s north. Co-incidentally, I actually work with someone from this town who went to university with Annika, so discovering the song had a double poignancy for me.

It’s a lovely song, very pretty, with slightly melancholic, clever lyrics.

And the wind in the trees are all: sch-uuung, sch-uuung
And the trains that pass by are all: sch-du-dung, sch-du-dung
And you and me are like: let’s go out for a walk
And our feet in the snow are like: tsch-ooo, tsch-ooo
and the choir in my chest is like: oooo- oooo
And the Stockholm insecurity is like: I don’t exist

But what moved me most was the simple, single-shot video clip…

I’m beginning to understand how the Swedes think about snow. It’s maybe similar to how I feel about the outback and the desert. It’s a place where you can go somewhere truly alone, and experience the power of silence, and where you can really hear yourself think, if you know what I mean.

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