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Posts Tagged ‘Finland’

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. 

John Burroughs

Clare and I walked on water today. It was frozen, but that’s besides the point. We walked all the way to an island in the middle of the lake and it was exhilarating because, even though we were told it could hold a car, we were also a bit unsure  of how smart we were being.

But we’re here to tell the tale!

Today’s hike was a little slick and you had to be careful of your footing. No falls, though!

What I’m loving most about the Finnish countryside is that, for the most part, you live off of what is available. Granted, there is a small grocery store nearby for items like milk, cheese and bread,  but our water comes from the well; the firewood is stockpiled in the summer from the surrounding woods;  blueberries and strawberries are starting to grow everywhere and they’re yours for the picking in the summer. With that ease of access comes a different sort of serenity than I’m used to. We eat well, sleep well and enjoy our surroundings.

In other words, I highly recommend Finland!

Fires are a constant source of heat.

The constant fires require a constant supply of wood.

I love the door handles here. They're all unique.

The pine forests grow alongside the birch forests.

Footprints in the snow.

Silhouettes.

Venturing out onto the frozen lake!

I was hoping to see a fish looking back at us.

Looking back to shore.

Resiliency: the reeds grow despite the thick ice.

Angels in the snow, on the lake.

Making our way to the island. No turning back!

Outhouse lovin'.

A man of the woods.

The ice didn't crack! We made it!

Red rocks and lichens.

Right where she left it.

More stored boats.

The forgotten exoskeleton of some critter.

Bows of boats.

A contrast: greenery in the snow.

Green logs.

The green eyes of Pat the cat. We're unsure of his/her gender, but he/she is very loving.

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In the U.S. we also refer to it as slush, sleet, flurries, packing snow, blizzards, sledding snow…ultimately, it’s all snow. The same can be said for Finland, although I have a feeling there are lots more terms. Today, for example, the snow we hiked in was called kantohanki, because it had a hard enough surface to support our weight.

Most of the time! When it didn’t, it offered a good laugh. We stumbled a lot, and I was the only one to truly fall. In my defense, it was well into our hike and it was probably better to just let myself fall rather than fight it and possibly wind up injured.

I’ve been learning a lot about Finnish culture and I’m enjoying it. Especially in the countryside, they’re very resourceful. Nature is also very respected, and I respect that.

Here are some pictures from today’s hike around the nearby lake…off to the sauna now!

This birch branch was hung between two trees and had nails along it that are used to untangle fishing nets and see what was caught.

The nails up close, along with the feathered bark of the birch.

Branches are useful in many different ways.

The traces of a branch left in the deep snow.

A tranquil spot in the woods.

The cage in the foreground is dropped just off shore to lure fish in that are then trapped.

An elk footprint amidst pine needles.

Shadows on the lake. The surface is solid enough to support a car right now.

A smoke sauna, which was used before chimneys were added.

A boat in storage for the season.

An underground cellar; good for storage, as nothing freezes.

Shadows of the birch trees. Birch need clean air to grow; I'm inhaling LOTS of clean air!

Moss is covering the many rocks and boulders left behind from the glaciers. This particular moss requires a lack of pollution and is eaten by reindeer.

This rock-covering looked like mini roses to me.

A view of the sky after I tripped in the deep snow. It was a good resting place.

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For those of you who don’t keep up with the news, haven’t gone outside, or were sleeping through the winter here’s what happened: we barely had one.

While my hometown of Cleveland is experiencing 60 degree weather this week, I’ll be enjoying the weather they never had. Don’t laugh! Most people complain about the four seasons and claim to be happy that we avoided most of the snow. I admit that I enjoyed spending my lunch breaks walking around in the spring/summer weather we have had, but it wasn’t until I landed in Finland that I was reminded of what we missed.

Icicles in the sunlight.

Skinny birch trees abound.

Moonlight approaches.

Bicycle.

Hibernation.

Leaving the city behind.

Skyline of trees.

I’m thrilled to be surrounded by so much wildlife. The mixture of white birch trees and evergreens is crisp and scenic. I particularly like them because they’re very narrow and you find them everywhere–even surrounding the large cities. There’s a law that when the trees are cut down they must be replaced. There’s also a law that allows people to hike on each other’s property as long as they are not hunting or causing damage; I will be taking advantage of that!

Hei hei! (Bye!)

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