Tuomas Ollikainen / Sculptor

Can you find Mr. Lenin in this photo?

Can you find Mr. Lenin in this photo?

Postcard from Russia: A Poem

June 2017

When I try to understand this vast country, I imagine a canvas of rivers, roads and railways cross through the forests and fields, finding their beginnings and endings on the sea shores, the lake sides and the mountain ranges. I imagine the endless small village roads divert and lead deeper in to the woods, deeper in to the unknown... "Yesenin! Yesenin! Oh he is the Russian soul", I can still hear in my ears, two days later, Bogdan's voice saying with a considerable elevation. We had almost reached the end of the alphabets of Russian literature, and also the end of the bottle. Now aboard on a train, I think about the poet, a young fatherless man, who wrote about the seasons, the birds and the trees, who wrote about the sun and the moon, and their endless variations in the pastoral landscape, with a melancholic yearning. He was a simple man, who liked to drink, who loved women, who wrote perhaps to compensate the losses in his life. Outside the train window I see again another dusty winding road, like a pulsing vein, leading through the houses, shacks and fences, passing the birches and wells, deeper towards the woods. I can see the same path crossing the fields in the etiquette of the water bottle in my hand. The fellow passengers, who sit discreetly and withdrawn, know it, I am sure, and if I would be able to look in to their eyes long enough, I could see what the poet wrote. Somewhere out there, by some worn-out dacha, in a dimly lit room with a chair, a table and a cup, or in the half-wild garden, among the fragrance of the blooming bushes, the Russian soul hides, grows and dies.

A Walk on the Wild Side

October 2017

On a late October day I went to walk the circle path of the Paljakka Nature Reservation. The previous night, I had stayed over at the Mustarinda-house, and in the evening the first snow fell light and almost silent. So in the morning, when I started walking, the old forest was covered with thin powdery layer of snow, breaking all the green tones towards the grey, except for the patches of clear ground, which the trees and bushes has left on their eastern side. While the snow had fallen, the wind had blown from the west. It was pretty amazing view, as though the clear areas were the shadows cast by the firs. Pretty soon after I had began the route, the sun peered out from the low crack in the clouds, illuminating the forest, with a fragile touch of light. I had with me an old Zeiss Ikonta film camera with five shots left. I took the photos quite fast, and then just enjoyed the rest of the walk, the silence and the solitude, which as a welcomed suprise, were only broken by a single raven who once made a circle above me, accompanied with loud cries, as if to check out who is there.

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