ancestry and land and journeys afield.

Do me a favor.

Follow this link. Literally, right now. Play this song while you continue reading.

I have several connections with this song.

  1. I first heard it at camp – a transformative place and time for me, the month I spent as a student that solidified me in my intent to keep Sweden in my life.
  2. I listened to it all winter my senior year of high school. The opening visuals of the moon bobbing in the pink sky over snow-covered trees put me strongly in mind of driving through Eastern Idaho in the winter as a kid, something I was then looking forward to doing again while going to school here. (See also this post.) I did not know, of course, that those landscapes were, in fact, Lappland, but…
  3. I’ve been there now. When she walks down the hallways made of ice? That’s the Ice Hotel outside Kiruna, and I have been there, and in my mind it and all the other visuals symbolize the north of Sweden, which, naturally, is close to my heart.

The song is about reindeer (in fact I think it is a call to three reindeer in particular, one of whom, Irene, is the song’s namesake) – a very Sami song. I am not Sami, and the only reason I know anything about them is because of camp, but it is what is at the heart of things that is important, and I can understand that thing where you have songs about that which makes you what you are.

I don’t know – there’s something very mystical and deep and stirring attached to that footage of the moon rushing by with the music behind you. There’s something very mystical and deep about how she can be, in the same three seconds, woman striding confidently down hallway, girl ducking shyly behind pillar, child spinning under glistening chandelier. There’s something truly wonderful about how she is alone and terrible and mysterious, and yet she giggles and winks and flings herself joyously into the snow and I understand perfectly.

I don’t know. It’s weird.

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