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Iron ore

It is a warm, sunny day, and my mind is overflowing with unwritten ideas I'd like to write about in the blog. So I took an old laptop and a mug of coffee and settled under the oak to write this. Let's start with music. Remember Astrid Swan, who I mentioned in one of my earlier blog post? Well, here is a piece called Black bear & Hoofer, from her album Astrid4. She works for a small but high quality record label called Soliti. A month ago they released Astrid4 in UK, and got some pretty good reviews. As a fan I'd like to help them, so this is my voluntary promoting =) It is funny, as usually I like to contemplate the lyrics, but with this track I don't even try. I just allow myself to be carried with the rhythm and atmosphere of the piece, and that is a very comforting experience for me. (As I write this, the wind gently hums in the oak, the roosters idle around, and the laptop plays Astrid Swan. It feels like presence of a some age-old, dreamlike another level of reality.)

A week ago my friend Katja posted a link to an interesting text about social space. Have I told of my younger brother and his habit of constantly breaking the assumption "everybody wants to be left alone"?. I especially remember one time years back, when we quickly bought some food from a Subway shop. While I was still looking at the alternatives, my brother had already initiated a casual chat with the young ladies working behind the counter. By the time we got our rolls purchased, he had discussed their holiday plans and given advices about places to see in different cities. Both parties clearly enjoyed the talk, and it left me thinking. I've been reflecting this in my own work as a massage therapist. I have noticed that when i'm tired, I find it energy-consuming to listen to my customers talking - this happens mostly when they talk about things I'm not personally interested in. In those moments I feel that I'd really prefer to be left in silence. So, I think what is essential here is the will to meet the others as real persons. This doesn't always mean talking, as more often just a friendly look or a smile is enough.

But it might be that my personal experience is not suitable for any generalization. As, in my childhood I learned that most of the communication is painful, and I honestly preferred to be left alone. It has taken me a lot of work and therapy to learn to enjoy being with others - to find the ease and joy of meeting friends and talking with strangers. Or sending a fan mail to an artist I admire. Sometimes my old memories kick in, and I begin to think: "Maybe I write too much, maybe just one word is too much - maybe reading my message feels energy-consuming, maybe the artist feels exhausted the way I do when doing too much massage. Maybe the artist is already tired of fanmail and is just looking for a moment of solitude and privacy." Somewhere there lies the healthy middle path - being open and willing to respect others and oneself. I do believe that people are sensitive to the inner energy and intetions of others - or, at least, social life becomes easier if we develop more sensitivity. It is just that we don't get an opportunity to learn if we too much go with the extremities of "always ignore the others" or "always just talk and talk, look into eyes, chat, touch, hug and suck all the social energy from every person you meet." (I mean, a same gesture can feel so different depending on the inention and energy involved. And if we are insensitive to this non-verbal communication, we are likely to find ourselves in awkward situations. And if that happens too much, it becomes easier to go with a rule "always ignore the others as everybody wants to be left alone." So, the way out of this collective non-communication lies in non-verbal communication, I think.)

Last weekend I briefly visited Helsinki. I met a lot of old and new friends, which was extremely nice and inspiring. Well, there would be a lot to talk about the trip, bur I'm not going to do it now. So, with a warm heart I ran to catch the last train to Tampere. I arrived at Tampere at one o'clock am. - and found my friends waiting for me at the station. Together we went to drink a pint of beer at a pub, and then headed to their place. They had prepared some tasty food and served it with red wine - so there we sat in the middle of the night, enjoying good company. On Sunday I drove back to my home, and on my way I met my cousin and his family. When we were kids, we didn't meet our relatives so often, so I didn't develop a significant contact with the cousins. But once again, it is a question of abandoning the models adopted in childhood, breaking the rule "ignore the others", dropping the social roles and learning to know people in person. And sure, it was nice to meet them.

On monday evening there was a thunder storm. I have read that fish react to changes in air pressure, and that they are usually very active after a thunderstorm. So, as soon as the storm had passed I went fishing. Pretty soon I caught a young pike. I sometimes hear people dismissing small catches - as if the main purpose of fishing is to catch a big fish. But I'm honestly fishing to eat. And when hungry, a young pike is a damn good catch - it provides a day's meal. I kept on rowing around, drawing a lure. I've been living next to this lake for five years, and I'm still learning how the fish behave here - it depends on formations of the lake bottom, weather, temperature of the water and all that kind of things. Traditionally people learned this kind of stuff from their parents or relatives, and I also learned some of the general principles from my own father. But the rest I have to learn myself. As I was thiking about this there was an another catch. This time I made a wrong move with a hand net, helping the fish to break free from the lure. So the pike escaped, and I decided to stop for a while, casting the lure. After several tries I caught something - oh, a piece of iron ore. In this lake there are many areas where the bottom is covered with palm-sized flat rusty and flaky stones rich of iron. In the old times people collected that and smelted it for iron. Nowadays I can just have readymade hooks, axeblades, knives, sawblades and all that. Yup, with all these tools I could achieve some sort of self-sustainability when it comes to food. But I would still depend on these tools, as I lack the skills to smelt iron. Hey, see - another way of coming back to the social nature of human being. We depend on others, we have been living in groups, communities and cities for numerous generations, and yet it feels that there is a lot to learn in basic social skills. At least for me =)

Well, a thunder bolt had cut the electricity, so when I returned from the lake I decided to cook the fish by fire. In the midnight dusk I sat by fire, cutting the fish, cooking and eating, and enjoying the sweet aroma of bird cherries in blossom. After that I was too tired to write a blog entry, and then I was busy with massage. But here goes, another few lines of Life in the Finnish Woods =)

limonite iron ore
limonite iron ore
sunset at Lake Paloselkä
sunset at Lake Paloselkä
tags: 
diary
homesteading
music
philosophy
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Comments

interesting reading.
by the way, you're sure it's limonite? maybe it's a bog iron, since lake areas are likely very boggy. not sure how it ended up on the bottom of the lake though.

Definitely I'm not sure =) In Finnish we call them, literally translated, "bog ore" and "lake ore", and as far as I understand they are basically the same stuff. So, I just quickly opened the Finnish wikipedia with "järvimalmi" and then chose the english page to see what name it gives for that type of iron ore. So it might well be that my translation is inaccurate.

I took an another look at Wikipedia, and I think "limonite" is a general name for different types of iron oxides. Some of them are found in bog areas, and some in bottom of lakes. It also says that it regenerates in lakes - once harvested, a same area in lake bottom will regrow a layer of limonite in ten years.

I like reading the words that you write.

Sometimes reading any words at all is energy-depleting, as you say, but in those times I do not read and then the words are still there waiting when reading words will be energy-restoring again. You should write when you have words to write, and people will read when they have room to carry your words without spilling them.

Thanks.

I often think how before the internet it was normal that exchanging letters took a week or two - nobody expected an instant reply. When I went to the university I started to use e-mail to communicate with my friends - and I noticed people often apologized for the delay in their reply, if it took more than a day to reply... Oh, but I always prefer people reading and replying if and when they feel like it. And it is delightful to receive a reply or a comment after weeks or months of posting something =)

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