Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I'm going back where the salmonberries grow!

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June has been a month equal parts adventure and exhaustion for me and it seems I'm not the only one who's been a little absent from our online coven of lovely ladies. Absence. The word takes on a whole new meaning in the digital age. Time, as Einstein proved, is rather relative, and had he lived to see it, ol' Albert might have noted that it seems to travel at an accelerated speed on the internets. Here, a day becomes a week, a week, then, and a month a year, which might as well be an aeon.
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In a place where everything is instant, there seems no room for respite, for pause. No point, it seems in commenting on blog posts from last week, replying to emails from last month, they are yesterday's news, water under the bridge.

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When the breath-taking pace of the modern world threatens to swallow one whole, be it in the form of phone calls and emails unreturned, deadlines approaching, planned blog-posts gathering virtual dust, it's good to take a step back and remember this world is but an extension of the real world, not some alternate universe with its own laws of physics and magic.
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True friends will wait patiently for phone calls and letters, the deadlines are not set in stone, but set by people and sometimes it's perfectly beauteous to switch it all off and wander out.

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And then. After a while. It can be equally wonderful to wander on back in. I'm here.

(And so are Sadie and Amber after some wanderings. Oh and check out Violet Folklore's awesome new FB-page. Now here's something I don't mind being updated on hourly;)

And I'm so, so grateful for so many beautiful comments I've recently received and want to send some special love to Katherine on her journeys and Elishva, who's sunny blog I hope to visit more often in good time (as well as many other new-to-me blogs of commentators). My heartfelt gratitude to you all you wonderful girls for being in this circle of mutual inspiration.

You are here.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When The Sun Rules The Earth

A traditional Finnish Solstice (juhannus) spell for kids (and grown-ups alike)

On the longest night of the year, you must gather seven different flowers from the fields in the light of the midnight sun.
Once you've broken off the first one, you cannot speak another word.
You must be silent the whole rest of the night, though you are allowed to laugh.
When you go to bed you must place the flowers under your pillow and in a dream you will see your one true love.

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Do not worry too much about the "midnight sun". I think this might just be a convenient way to get the kids to go to bed/shut up and I don't ever recall anyone dreaming of anything significant (except when my cousin dreamt of her math teacher and was freaked out 'cos that for sure meant she'd have to marry him.), but it adds a little something to the celebrations, a special kind of magic. There are other spells that come to mind, but this one is very traditional.

Merry Solstice one and all!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An Island In The Sun

I promised you I wasn't running away, didn't I? And most wherever I'm going you can come with me.
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It is truly summer now, an unpredictable season laden with the hopes and expectations of many, especially after such a hard, rainy winter. Whatever sunshine we can get, we are just drinking it in right now. The salmonberries are fruiting like tiny ornaments hung on the branches, but I scarcely have a moment to gather them up in my mouth as I dash from one thing to the next.
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Salmonberries, by the way, are a curious mix of sweet and tart to taste and crunchy with seeds. The Alaskan branch of C.'s family worships them.
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Lately I'm wearing so many gifts that even having to put tights on can't dampen the mood: my favorite feather, a lovely skirt from Anne's package and a vest from my friend Kristiina who's visiting for three weeks. You heard me! Her and her boyfriend Timo have been hanging out with us for a week now and I think they like it here...
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We certainly like having them around. Brigit (I think it was you Brigit?) once remarked that I seems to live on what looks like Heaven on Earth and though I agree from the very ventricules and sinews and blood-cells in my body that comprise the heart, I have to admit that sometimes it takes someone else's eyes to open one's own.
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As much as I love my Island home, and I really do (Enough love, for a whole other post in fact.), it is surprising how easy it is to get lost in the busyness of life, one's own frustrations and small things, rather being able to maintain the constant joy of just living. Which is why there needs to be adventure, celebrations, to jolt you out of your routine.
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Celebrations like a friend's 70th birthday where kids climb trees, gypsy bands play and there's a Tesla Coil demonstration in the woodworking-shop. Yes I know. I live in a magical place, with magical people.
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Roses in bloom.
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A flowering of people.
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Forest-homestead-party-attire: my new (actually NEW! Shocking, I can't for the life of me remember the last time I bought something New-new.) Velvet Leaf Lola top (Get One! Get Three! I love mine so much!), a gilt-edged vest from Kristiina and a festive fern-crown.
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Like a lot of guests, we camped out for the night, so as to sit around the fire, take a steam, or just get to enjoy the night like it was never going to end. Should I live that long, I do hope that my own 70th birthday shindig is as joyous as this one, filled with friends and adventure, great music and good humor. Not to mention so raucous that the cops get called and after they make the band stop playing you wonder in the sauna what the heck is going on and decide to streak the scene. Yep. Now that's what I call growing old with dignity.
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It was probably the perfect introduction into the community for my friends. Everyone was there, exhibiting all that is good and wonderful about living in a tight-knit, if idiosyncratic place.
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The next morning the remaining guests enjoyed an almost miraculous breakfast with blueberry pancakes, so many melons and endless cups of coffee.
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The post-breakfast lawn turned into a kind of circus/badminton court. Kristiina got to try the hula-hoop for the first time since childhood and figured out she was quite the pro at it. C. does good too.
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With co-ordination like this, how hard could a hula-hoop be?
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Around noon a bunch of us headed to a gorgeous, secret and sort of illicit little beach in the South End of the Island. We collected agates and cool stones and Ana and I swam out to a little beach and made dresses out of seaweeds. A tourist ship went by and someone said we should all take off all our clothes and wave spears.
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And then real life? Well, I have to say that these pictures make it seem a tad more interesting and magical than it is in reality. Summer is a busy, stressful time for us and there isn't much beach lounging, but there are bees, and cows and boat trips to the sunset and kind friends who invite us over for a steam.
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Islands in the summer may be stressful for those who live here, but they can also be very relaxing and calm. Our guests have been gracious enough to help out with digging and planting and cooking, in between naps and reading and bike trips. After seeing some of C.'s Native carving Timo has gotten intrigued by the idea of getting some carver's tools. Kristiina is determined to try every kind of organic ice cream our grocery store has to offer as well.
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Kissa had her first birthday and celebrated it with fish and lazing around. Just like any other day then.
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Kristiina whispers to horses.
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In addition to country roads, ice cream and the glorious animal kingdom, the main tourist attraction has been the Dump, from which those guys made some wicked scores. Kristiina couldn't believe her luck in finding the perfect pair of 70s boots. She even found me this lovely dress.
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She also got to find out first-hand how awkward posing for outfit-shots can be. Not as easy as one might think. It helps if you're wearing a hippie dress from the Height in San Francisco, bought back in the 90s during your exchange student days.
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Most photos by Kristiina and Timo. Some photos by me. Thank you!

So that's it for what's been going on here. How are your endless Summer Days?

Oh and do not forget to enter lovely Amber's Violet Folklore giveaway! Summer is for summer frocks, folks.