Rantaperkyö, Tampere 2022
Maybe it is because I am working with colleagues on the design of a research project that will apply a systems research framework to EdTech and education. Maybe it is because of the book I am reading: Steps to an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson. Maybe it is because the days are getting longer here in Finland and when I am out in the early morning to walk our dog I notice the intricate patterns of the snow-covered tree branches. Maybe it is because of all these reasons being interlinked with each other that I notice the complex patter of the trees, their branches, the lakeshore, the snow, the Arboretum park, the frozen lake, etc etc etc.
This is why I started to carry my camera during these morning walks and take photos of what I was not seeing in the same way until a few weeks ago.
The road is not slippery even though it is covered by a thick layer of dry snow. The air is clear. It is -15 Celsius and no forecast of snowfall. It will be a nice drive. We will get there on time.
Some of the photos in this blog are not linked to the blog post I write. That is because I do not have the camera with me at all times. I am reviewing the photos I took in the end of the year in Eastern Finland, while getting on with life here in Tampere.
Early in the morning on Friday, I was out for the morning walk with our dog. I went to the park nearby on the lakeshore. At one point I was walking towards the woman who was also out with her dog. As usually, my dog got on alert and stopped. He would not move. The woman walk a bit more towards us and then stopped as well, her dog on alert as well. We were about 10 meters apart. She said something in Finnish which id di not get. I said anteekesi? (sorry?). She saw that I was not from here maybe from the accent, maybe from the way I look and shook her head moving with her dog into the deep snow on the side of the path. She did not want the dog to meet. She was walking in the deep snow and I said again anteeksi? She kept walking. I then said voit puhua! (you can talk!) She stopped. She was a bit distant now. Siad again something I did not catch and walked away.
I was upset when I turned around to walk towards home. I felt again as the foreigner. But what did it mean? Why did she get so upset? Why wouldn’t she make an effort to communicate with me? I kept walking, hearing the snow crunching under my boots in the sub-zero temperature. My dog kept sniffing things. Pulling right and left oblivious of the encounter we just had. it was just another dog.
I was still upset imagining reasons as to why she would have reacted like that towards me. Maybe she had a bad night. Maybe it was the dog walk after a night shits and she was super tired. Maybe she just doe snot like foreigners. Maybe she feels uncomfortable when she realises that she cannot use Finnish with another person.
I told myself to stop figuring out things that were impossible to figure out. There is certainly a story behind that person (See Gregory Bateson). Our stories touched for a brief moment and that’s is. No more and no less.
At the same time, I thought about the bus driver who politely greets passengers on the city busses. The guy who came to the door of the swimming pool and kindly explained to me that it was closed due to Covid.
I have many of these examples and want to remember them more than the encounter of Friday morning. They are part of the same system of complex interrelationships I live in.
As simple and complex as that.
I had an early walk this morning. The wind was strong and it carried new snow. After few minutes from the cottage where I am staying, I noticed an open patch in the forest. I never noticed before. They must have cleared the forest last summer. They left some of the smaller trees next the path but they do not hide the clearing which is now there. It will disappear again in 15 years or so when the pines trees will have regrown.
Today I found an interesting quote in an Italian book I am reading.
It is from Pascal and says (in Italian):
‘Pascal scrive che noi riusciamo a conoscere la verità non soltanto con la ragione, ma anche con il cuore. Però Pascal, con la parola cuore, non allude ai sentimenti, bensì alla capacità originaria di riconoscere l’evidenza.’
More daily walks in the forest here in Hyväsalmi in Ihamaniemi and more fallen trees. Some of them due to the winds, some of them because the forest nearby has been cut and the protection that once was there has gone, and some of them because of the thin soil.
They reminded me of the thought experiment that is sometime attributed to the philosopher George Berkley: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
It was nice to go down to the shoreline the other night and look at the still water of the lake reflecting the sunset sky. There was no wind and the colour of the water almost matched the colour of the sky