Depending on how one looks at it, this particular story starts about thirty-seven years, or alternatively, about six weeks ago, when I returned to London from a two week summer holiday in Finland, my mother country, where I lived for the first 23 years of my life, before moving to UK (where I still live).
|Forest of my childhood|
I originally come from a small village in Southern Finland, which, even though only half an hour drive from the capital city, Helsinki, is a rural area of sleepy countryside, filled with open fields, small lakes and deep forests. In that environment, I grew up as a care-free child, roaming freely with my older brother and our friends, crossing streams, climbing trees and stealing apples from abundant trees. My love for the nature was nurtured by trips to the forest with my parents, to forage bilberries, lingonberries and many delicious wild mushrooms.
From early age, I would find it very comforting to listen to the trees, the restless fluttering of their leaves, the creaking of their ancient bodies and feeling their breathing between my small, extended arms. I particularly liked one tree in the small plot of woods my parents have, an old aspen tree, which seemed too different and big for the forest in order not be special somehow. I named the tree my Wishing Tree and started using the tree as nature's confession box, circling it ritualistically three times, making it wishes, telling it secrets and asking it advice that only such a wise, old tree could have an answer for. This for a young child seemed completely natural thing to do and I can't remember minding about the fact that the answers never came out in the form of human language. I now think that guided by a child's intuition, I consulted this totem tree, which in turn let me silently meditate and listen for the answers within. And of course that is the best advice anyone can give you, whether a tree or a person.
Over twenty years and many many travels later, I sit in my crammed London bedroom, surrounded by my art, my ideas, my photos, my memories, my films, my crystals, my scribbles and all kinds of scattered parts of my life in random order - yet in my mind's eye I am back in that childhood forest, next to that beautifully stocky wishing tree, sitting on the mossy floor. I tell the tree that next summer I am going to make a full circle and come back home and once again, consult the magical aspen about the truths that lie within.
With a lot of courage and a bit of luck, this time next year, a cob-hut, built with the soil beneath my feet and the wood from the surrounding forest, will stand at a viewing distance from that wise, old aspen and when I look out of the window, I will be able to say hello and thank you to the tree that knew all my dreams.