This summer I had the opportunity to visit many forest areas in South and East Finland. Here are some memorable places and objects I spotted on my various forest walks.
During the past year there have been two books that have especially inspired my artistic work. The first book is a collection of charms and incantations collected from the rural areas of Finland and first edited in 188o by Elias Lönnrot. This book, titled Suomen kansan muinaisia loitsurunoja, was also translated into English by John Abercromby in 1898. Reading both the Finnish and English editions, I've been charmed by the poems' powerful imagery and strong connection to nature. The Magic Songs are after all the same material that gave birth to Kalevala. However what is lacking is the compulsory narrative character of any national poem.
Another interesting book which I came across is a collection of beautiful photograps and stories of Finnish tree mythology. The book is titled Puiden kansa (Tree People) and the editors are Ritva Kovalainen and Sanni Seppo. This book revealed to me the surprisingly close connection that many Finnish people have had (and maybe still have today) to trees and especially those trees in their yards and nearby forests which have been given a special meaning. On my visit to Koli region this summer I happened to find one such tree. Generally, if a tree has been marked in some way to signify important events such as birth or death, it's called a karsikkopuu in Finnish. The pine tree below is a karsikkopuu of one particular family. There used to be a sign next to the tree with information connected to the family history. These trees are kept to preserve the memory of the family and to respect the work of previous generations.