It was late that night. He opened the Tube app to check until what time the trains were running. There was still time. Few more trains before they would shut the doors of the stations until the early morning. He had to change train in Baker Street and walked slowly to the platform. A train had just stopped but he did not rush. He had his headphones on and had stumbled upon an interview on BBC Ulster. The host was interviewing Ciara O’Neill. They were speaking about her new album. They were talking and his mind rushed back to memories of living in Scotland, to a trip he took in Ireland (though not Northern Ireland) many many years before. He remembered the winters up in the north. The strong winds. The waves in the ocean. The rain. The hills. The daily runs along the river. The warm pubs. All that came back in a matter of seconds and the distance to the train changed and there was no need to rush anymore. He listened to their nice Irish accent and then she sang one of the new songs. He thoughts about her courage to pursue her dream and become a songwriter up there in Northern Ireland and, for a moment, in Baker Street’s tube station as well.
The countryside in Eastern Finland, close to the border with Russia is more hilly than in the west of the country. There are these soft hills which resemble waves in the open sea. About 150 years ago this part of Finland was covered by forest and bug rocks. The farmers who settled here cleared the land one tree at a time, one rock at a time. Some of those rocks were used to build the foundation for the farmhouses. Hard work that in the winter had probably to stop to wait for the spring and the summer.
This is the last photograph fo this series. Next week I will start a new series of nine photographs from a different country. Different life stories.
The wind was blowing strong the day we took this walk. The radio and the weather apps where informing about this big snow storm coming which would touch more than half of Finland. People were advised to stay in for the night and the early hours of the following day. We had few hours of light and went for a walk in the countryside. The light was grey. The wind was carrying dry snow which made the air seems a bit foggy. It was not possible to take a tack sharp picture. The road followed the up and downs of the fields and its sides were one with the field nearby. The ditch that usually separates this road from the fields had disappeared under the snow. Then we saw this barn near a farm. People live here. Farmers own this land. I stopped for a second in the middle of the road. Listen to the wind. I thought about the life of those living here. How do these farmers cope with the long winter? How do they manage their farm and income? How far do their kids have to go to get to school? What do they think when they look outside the windows of their homes? I took this photograph as the cold wind from the east was taking my thoughts away with it. I put my hand in the pockets of my jacket to warm them and walked back to the cottage facing the wind.
In winter there are the frozen lakes. The trees in the forest covered with snow. There is also the countryside where farmers live and where the life seems to pause during the winter. The are no birds. The is silence broken only by the winds and the noise of the snow under the shows when walking. It all seems very remote and distant as farmers wait for the spring when the winter will to let go and they can start again their work in the fields.
I will continue this series until I reach nine photographs and will then switch to a new series with new landscapes and context.
The snow is ankle deep. The clouds are low on the shoreline. The ice is thick. Jumping is not a problem.
I woke up and went down to the lake. It had snowed a lot over the previous two days. The mark left by the snowmobile where not too fresh but still very visible. Somebody had passed nearby the shore but I could not remember hearing it. The made a small detour thinking about whether to get back from here or continue. The trees were holding the snow and when I turned the image to black and white I thought that it seemed a copper-etched print.
There is this lake in Eastern Finland. It freezes in the early winter and stays frozen until the end of March. It is a large lake and when the winter starts and the temperature drops a thin layer of ice begins to form starting from the shorelines and moving slowly towards the center. Then it can snow and the thin layer of ice gets covered by a white mantle which hides how thick the ice really is. But this is a large lake. Water moves. There are streams and currents hidden under the ice. In the silence of the the winter one can easily hear the sudden sound of cracks or a strange noise as if huge bubbles would try to break and escape the hard ice surface that will cover them until the spring.
Another photograph from Eastern Finland for the Winter Wonderland Series. I have few more to post. I will see how far I can go with these.
Pyhäjärvi is large lake in Eastern Finland. You can follow it going east and you will end up in Russia after passing the island of Havukkasaari. I think the landscape on the other side of the border it pretty similar to the one on this side of the border. Water. Ice in winter. Island. The line fo the forest at designing the horizon. At the same time, it seems to me that Russia is very far away. Almost unreachable. Unknowable.
A large lake. Frozen landscape. The sky promising more snow. No cars. No roads. Only the sound of the wind
Christmas Eve here in Finland.
Today I thought about last summer. One night when we came back home. The usual bus stop. The usual shortcut to get home. Something was different: it was the end of a nice and hot summer. There was a different smell in the air. Soon the leaved would turn to yellow and orange and make way to autumn.
Sihanoukville is a seaside town in Cambodia known for its nice beaches. We travelled often to Sihanoukville when we lived in Cambodia. One day we walked pass a school yard where kids where having fun.
In the age of fiberoptics and super fast connectivity it is still possible to find these old copper cables radiating from an old wooden pole.
The first snow of the year. It changes the atmosphere. It brings light. It softens the sounds.