Reindeer Games in #Finland


Air snaps at the Finland
Winter Festival.
Carnival fragrances
of coffee and sweet dough
mingle with the muskier
scent of reindeer.
Reindeer racers hail
from Finland without fail,
but also Spain, Germany,
France, Australia and Italy!


To Oulu from
far and near,
they race and laugh
with joyful reindeer.

Finland Reindeer rides by Sartenada

Kids of all ages watch and ride.
My inner kid wants to finish
the Finnish challenge
one day, wrapped in my parka
and wearing a rainbow cap.
Maybe I’ll even see the
Northern lights.

Copyright 2016 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: Photographs used by permission of Sartenada. If you wonder what it looks like beyond the Arctic Circle in summer, she has another great post with reindeer. I learned many names for reindeer in other languages, rennes (French), renos (Spanish), poro (Finnish), renna (Italian), rentier (German), ren (Romanian) and 驯鹿 (Chinese).

Pining for Finland

Brown Bear painting by Brenda Davis Harsham

Brown bear, brown bear,
what do you see?
Reindeer herds or
Santa in Rovaniemi?

May to August,
the midnight sun lights Lapland.
Under that luminous sky,
the Sámi teach that all
beings and objects have souls.
Paintings, pottery,
dolls and blankets have stories.
A Sámi kota is a circular tent,
a place for visions and healing.

Brown bear, brown bear,
what do you see?
A Lake Saimaa seal,
cut off from the sea?

Long winer nights are
lit by aurora borealis,
heaven’s fireworks,
the celestial dragon.
If we listen,
what will we hear?

Notes: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a classic children’s book written by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle. I pay homage here to a book my kids love, and I reread so many times it feels part of my DNA.

I’ve seen a rise in visitors from Finland, and I wanted to learn more about it. Finland’s cities of light are dwarfed by its vast wilderness near the arctic circle. In between Sweden and Russia, Finland flies its cross-of-blue flag over lakes, mountains, forests, rocky inlets, migrating birds and northern lights. It’s a place of magic, with trees frozen like trolls, glass igloos and brown bear roaming free.

The painting is a watercolor of mine from twenty years ago, tweaked by iPhoto.