Crimbo limbo and TV foraging: Hypnosis beyond the Arctic and It’s a Wonderful Life
What was I watching Boxing Day evening? The most relaxing, soothing documentary I have ever come across. I believe there is a name for this type of television genre: Slow TV. And it does what it says on the tin. Reindeer sledding with the Sami reindeer herders. The link is below. The above is with dogs which the Sami People pass from time to time. The Sami people drive their sledges through their traditional postal routes across the Tundra, in the most northern part of Norway, two hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, to deliver people and equipment as they have done for hundreds of years.
Now, I couldn’t cope in such harsh temperatures. I was born to live in the desert, I think. Though, I do believe I have a soft spot fantasy about crossing vast plains, particularly the Sahara by camel like the Tuareg. I once, stupidly, tried to chase a Giraffe across the Masai Mara plains, but that’s another story. Now the Tundra is looking appealing despite most definitely suffering from hypothermia as my body temperature is that of a lizard- I cannot retain heat at all. However, visually, this was so spectacular to watch that I almost wanted to be there. And the sound made the whole experience exceptionally seductive. What sounds? Very little.
No typical voice over and no intrusive dialogue. Two Sami ladies- fully dressed in leather, wool and reindeer furs, prepared for potentially down to minus fifty degrees temperatures- one at the helm with the lead reindeer, the other at the rear, stealthily steering through, filmed from the point of view of both herders. Well done camerawoman, Justine Evans. Just imagine the stillness summoned by the snow and ice-covered plains, the crunch from the hooves of the reindeer’s, with their bells ringing wistfully, like wind chimes being teased in the breeze. Imagine stubborn reindeer heads bucking boisterously from side to side, clacking with bare branches either side of their paths, hear the skimming sledges and the occasional passing traffic; herders driving in the opposite direction with their Huskies. How nice it was when they stopped momentarily for a micro break, as if to catch their breath- though both herders and reindeer’s seemed so relaxed, remaining still. And when they took a longer break; they would sometimes join a fellow herder? Sitting in front of a crackling, spitting fire, (indulge in the sounds), set back from the path, and not far off from a traditional tent erected close by. The women would join and warm themselves and pass a little conversation. I became sympathetic to both the temperature of the fire and the arctic breeze- though I could only ever imagine the latter.
We could hear murmurs not content. We didn’t need that.The human contact alone is satisfying and relaxing. Meanwhile, reindeer foraged in the snow to find lichen known as reindeer moss.
What little sounds there were became cushioned and absorbed by the snow -blanketed landscape, bringing about an ambient noise so hypnotic and reassuring. I was tapping into a form of meditation, but with my eyes wide open.
Eventually, they bade farewell and taking a stick each which they lit to create torches, (maximum four hours daylight to shoot in), they headed off on their journey once again, lighting the pathway from the front and back, watching the way that light fell and reflected off the snow, like two evening suns. And throughout all of this activity, information about the Sami people popped up, projected against the snow like a whiteboard; their rituals, ancestors, their way of life, reindeer migratory habits.
The whole experience- staring into the entire snow covered expanse was like staring into a large open fire and the feelings it would generate from me, tranquillity, peace, hypnosis, clearing the mind and creating space in my head. This experience created a beautiful feeling for me. If you get a chance to watch this on repeat, do so.
All aboard! The Sleigh Ride was on BBC 4 Christmas Eve and Boxing Day evening
It’s a wonderful Life...in the end, But…
I know it’s a Round Robin of a film- every Christmas without fail it’s aired at some point. I’m talking about It’s a Wonderful Life, and looking at it from a different perspective this time. I saw it many moons ago. I certainly know that I’ve watched it B.C, (before children), but not with due diligence. I don’t recall reacting so differently towards it as I do now. I’m sure my outlook on it has changed massively to what it was then.
Yep, poor, George Bailey. Good timing, good luck and opportunities seem to have given him the widest berth throughout his life. This family man ends up in a desperate place financially. It’s the final straw, hitting upon on failure and an unfulfilled life, cruelly pointed out to him by the evil Henry Potter; that George faces ruin and in fact, his life insurance policy makes him better off dead than alive. We see George turn up at his large family home, teetering on the brink of collapse, contemplating this next move; suicide. Cue George’s guardian Angel who shows George how important and instrumental George’s existence is to everyone in his community -as a way of deterring him from the act and it works. George becomes grateful and thankful, and his life is saved, as well as the lives of many others he had intervened in- directly or indirectly -and that’s all hunky dory and…wonderful. But…what of Mary at that same moment in time? When he arrives home? We find Mary surrounded by four children, all fairly young and demanding, in a house (to be fair, her dream home), that’s too large that they can ill afford, with a man who has never been settled with the sedentary lifestyle and facing bankruptcy and arrest. God forbid that she should feel the same way as him, but if she were placed in his shoes and given the opportunity to see her life minus, the choices she made, settling for spinsterhood and working in a library, perhaps learn to shrug off the timidness…? Well, I could think of worse things…Just saying, that’s all.