Saturday, February 07, 2015

The forest is my friend. Just enjoy the tranquility

“I am a man of the forest,” Pekka Vaananen declares as he introduces himself. He’s a rugged looking Finn, with bright narrow eyes and rough skin on his face that shows his age. He smiles broadly and welcomes me to his home.

“The forest is my friend and I feel it is the biggest lesson we can learn, that life is from the forest,” he tells me. “Because the trees are in their places and they cannot move but we can move. We are connected to the forest in a way that we don’t normally understand. The forest and the trees are giving us the oxygen which we breathe. Without them we cannot exist.”

We’re not too far from Helsinki – about 30 minutes drive – and close to the city of Espoo, but it feels like we could be in the middle of nowhere.

“I want people to come out to the forest,” he explains, “because the more people that come, the forest believes that they will then protect the forest.”

“Just relax,” Pekka says to me in the evening when I ask about the best way to enjoy this area. “The forest doesn’t say you’re guilty of something. Just enjoy the tranquility. There are some values which have been like that forever. It doesn’t change, the people change.”

Perhaps this is a deeper way of thinking than I was expecting. It seems so apt, though. This is my first time in Finland for winter and there is something unusually tranquil about it. For a country that is very proud of its silence, this is a whole new volume of nothingness. The long dark nights make you look inside yourself rather than around you. Even during the days, the sun stays low in the sky and the soft light hits you right in the eyes. It’s never too bright and I wonder whether I’ve ever quite woken up from my dreams.

The morning after visiting Pekka at Green Window, I got out for an expedition on snow shoes with Eventure, another outdoor activity company close to Espoo and Helsinki. Again, I find myself in the forests of Finland. This time it’s in the beautiful Nuuksio National Park which is part of the green belt that surrounds the capital and gives the country’s native animals the ability to roam freely across the land without the interruption of human development.

source: A man of the forest - Finland

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...