Monthly Archives: July 2013

Always On The Way Somewhere?

Kuva tiestä Maxmossa

We made a trip to Norway a couple of weeks ago (see my post The Flight of A Bird). During that trip I thought about life, and my thoughts went like this:

I sit in the car,
and the road races ahead of me.
Meadowsweets,
meadow buttercups and
rosebay willow herbs,
roadsides full of them.
I’m always on the way somewhere, some place.
Always aiming, attempting.
Always aspiring, acquiring – and the flowers just look at me as I pass by.

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The Stories of The Old Basket Chair

Does this basket chair tempt you to come and sit on it?

Photo: Maarit Suokas-Alanko

Photo: Maarit Suokas-Alanko

I can see it from where I am just now writing.

The day is sunny, bright and cool. The window is open and I can hear the wind that is unusually strong today. It rocks the aspens in the garden, and the sound it creates resembles the hum of sea somewhere in the distance.

I haven’t written anything for a couple of weeks. I’ve been on holidays like everyone in Finland in July. I actually thought I wouldn’t write at all this month, but then I got inspired by that old basket chair. First I took photos of it, and then it asked me to write. It’s right there in front of the window. When I sit on it I can see what happens inside and outside the house, and inside and outside myself. During the weeks of summer holidays it is my watchtower, my nest for incubating ideas, my place for just sitting and staring.

Today my basket chair made me think of one particular aspect of life which I consider important: beauty.

I have adored beauty in its various forms throughout my whole life – in nature, in all forms of art. Treasuring beauty has been so important to me that I became a semi-professional painter, with the seriousness of a professional.

I even went to study aesthetics (see the definition at the end of the post) at the university. But I soon came to realize that my reverence of beauty was ultimately not of intellectual nature, and I did not bother to finish my studies.

I want to sense beauty. I want to feel it. And to me beauty does not only mean the sweet, pretty and lovely. There is beauty also in the raw and rugged. There is beauty in honesty that reveals the edginess and imperfection of reality.

My confession of faith could be: “I believe in God, the Ultimate Beauty.” Because beauty, as I see it, contains all the aspects that support and further life: harmony, peace, love, joy, courage, truth etc. In their purest forms all these qualities are simply – beautiful!

But let’s get back to the basket chair – on which, by the way, my late mother-in-law used to sit waiting for us when we came for a visit. As I was sitting on it yesterday I thought about blogging. I looked back to the end of January when I started. I even checked whether what I wrote on my About page still holds true.

I started to blog with the intention of giving myself a voice, of showing something new about myself. I guess this is the aim of many bloggers. I also wanted to challenge myself and decided to write in English. I wanted to share what life has shown to me. I felt that writing might help me to recreate myself after returning to Finland. Coming back “home” after years in other countries forced me again to ask the very universal and the very personal question: “Who am I?” – Asking this question is, of course, an exploration that continues until the end of life.

Right now I feel that I have reached many of the goals I set myself. But in the process of blogging something else has also emerged. Something that was not present in my original list of intentions. Something extra. Something that has been lost for years.

Photo: Maarit Suokas-Alanko

Photo: Maarit Suokas-Alanko

It is the joy of writing, the pleasure of using the amazing instrument of language. Being carried by words.

I look at again the old basket chair. The sun has moved on in the sky, and the chair now remains in the shade. It actually could be an image of me: An aging lady curiously looking into the outside world and curiously exploring the inner worlds.

* * *

aesthetics |iːsˈθɛtɪks, ɛs-|(US also esthetics ) a set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty.• the branch of philosophy which deals with questions of beauty and artistic taste.

The Flight of A Bird – Travelling through Lapland to The Arctic Ocean

Tenon laakso, tietä, Kari

There are landscapes that are carved into one’s soul. The landscape of my soul is Lapland, the northernmost part of Finland with its hills, and the river Teno that stretches from Finland to the Arctic Ocean in the North of Norway. In this landscape I used to spend my summer holidays when I was a child.

The photos you see here were taken during the trip that we just made to the North of Finland and Norway.

Tunturipuro

… The fragrance of the tundra vegetation in the summer, the vast skies and the infinite horizon of the arctic hills connect me to the deepest essence of myself. This landscape soothes my soul, it silences the endless babble of my mind, and it brings me into direct contact with fresh, untamed nature. In this landscape I am one with the soaring eagle on the sky, I become a mountain avens on a hill, and I change to a gurgle of limpid water in a brook. In this landscape I dissolve into the unfathomable beauty of the earth.

Soutumatka joella

Merestä nouseva kallioKissankellojaSuovilla

Hilloja

Vene ja merta

“The spirit of man is nomad, his blood Bedouin, and love is the aboriginal tracker on the spoor of his lost self; and so I come to live my life not by conscious plan or prearranged design but as someone following the flight of a bird.”

 Sir Laurens van der Post