This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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New skin on old bones

Oldhouse-1The long, wooden house stood by itself in an overgrown meadow of high grass and flowers, shyly exhibiting brand new walls painted red, sparkling white corner posts, and a sturdy, new roof. Why shyly? Because its exterior was nearly 300 years younger than its timber construction. It is not with complete comfort that one bears new clothes after loving one’s only outfit for centuries. Oldhouse-3My great-grandfather and great-grand uncle were born in this house. They were not born in this meadow though. Before the house was dressed in new clothes, it was dismantled, every log and plank numbered, carried a few dozen kilometers further, and built up again from scratch. Why? Because someone thought it was a valuable piece of history and should be kept under a watchful eye.

Other generations could be born in this house. The timber walls are dry and healthy. The moss and flax fiber insulation between the logs is only a few decades old. The windows are new. All that is needed is lots of love and care – and a little imagination.
Oldhouse-2(Pernaja, Finland; June 2018)


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Interlude: primroses gone wild

springflowersThis is what happens when you buy a couple of yellow primroses for your garden and leave them to flourish over 20 years, remembering each year not to mow the lawn until their bloom is over. Among the primroses are white wood anemones, blue scillas, and the offspring of a few purple corydalis that I planted as a kid. I found them in the local woodland and knew they were endangered – but I wanted them anyway. Well guess what, they are far from endangered in the garden of my parents.

(Helsinki, Finland; May 2018)


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When the earth shook (and about human resilience)

canggubeach-2Dear guesthouse, thank you for proving yourself earthquake-worthy. Dear Canggu beach, thank you for no tsunami. Dear Bali, thank you for softening the shockwaves shooting off your sister island. We had a proper scare here on West Bali, but it was nothing compared to those in Ubud and on the East Coast. Not to mention the unfortunate ones on Lombok and Gili Islands, who bore the main burden of our planet rearranging its scales.

After less than five hours of sleep (fully dressed, the door to my apartment unlocked and key in lock) I gave up on the idea of rising with the sun to go to mysore class at 7 am. Instead I chased slumber for another hour and a half, when I began to feel I have an earthquake in my head: surely the bed and my hands holding my iPhone were not shaking. Ridiculous, I told myself, and got up. It turned out to be yet another aftershock all the way from Lombok, over 12 hours after the primary quake.

Nothing broke here in Canggu but locals thought the quake was bigger than anything felt on Bali in the past 13-15 years. Yet by 10 pm last night, two hours after the primary quake, the bars were booming with music and people again. This morning the shops were open like no window glass would ever shatter. Surf school was on, like no tsunami warning ever was last night. And people lived on, like nearly a hundred people never died last night on Lombok.

It is not our adaptability that is our greatest salvation; it is our short memory and our quick ignorance of danger that passed. Unless we witness true direct horror and trauma, it is as if our minds are like those of children: we forget so quickly and go about playing again. Or sleeping. Or doing what we always do. Perhaps this is how we stay alive: not remembering all the dangers that might occur? Especially, if one lives on the Ring of Fire, with a handful of moderate earthquakes felt every year.

I truly hope those who lost their loved ones and their houses on Lombok will be remembered long enough to be helped on their feet again.
canggubeach-1(Canggu, Bali, Indonesia; August 2018)


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Retreating

retreatFor just one day I checked out of my own life. I reconnected with the person living that life instead. Under the skin of the person who travels 2-3 days a week for work, and consciously has to carve out time for life beyond a job she loves, are ants running around. The trick is, one only discovers them when one stops for a moment.

So today I sat down on my zafu and said hello to the ants running across my chest, on the inside of my skin. As I practised my walking meditation in 20 cm snow underneath sleeping apple trees, I could feel the ants go to sleep, too.

While I consciously choose to live than just to exist, in this context and in our culture, truly “living” usually means being active. Sometimes it is good to just let the world pass through us and truly feel it. The good, the bad, and the antsy.

(Kirkkonummi, Finland; January 2018)