Friday, May 31, 2013

The sweet smell holds the strongest memory

On Wednesday I went with my youngest daughter to Luukki lake, as she wanted to try swimming for the first time this year. There is a big field of grass by the lake, and while going to the lake we saw some people in a very strange-looking activity.

There were half a dozen people of which half were dragging a meter-long wooden stick along the ground, in a squating position, very very slowly. This looked like a strange kind of tai chi. There were 30 cm tall markers with colored ribbons here and there, 20-30 meters from each other, and the squatters were slowly moving between these markers.

I heard someone say something like "Now I feel it will be found", and thought that perhaps this was some occult thing, such as geomancy, looking for underground water for placing a well.

When we returned it turned out that there were a couple of dogs sniffing the ground between the markers. So, this was exercise for dogs - search dogs or tracking dogs - and the people with sticks had been marking the ground for the dogs to follow the scent. Oh well, my original thoughts were much more exciting!

These photographs were taken last weekend. Birch! Birch! Birch! Birch! I do love these trees.

(Posting title is from the poem Smoke in Our Hair by Ofelia Zepeda.)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Deceive, deceive me once again!

Today I commuted by car, fetching the rest of my bicycle from work. I haven't heard from the repair shop, so it may be that the rear tire won't be ready until tomorrow.

The shop expert who looked at the tire was surprised that five spokes had broken at the same time, and all near the rim, which is very unsual, usually the break happens in the center. There must have been something seriously wrong with the spokes. I hope I get the bicycle in working order this time so that I don't need to get it fixed once again.

It would have been nice to commute by bicycle today, the weather has been excellent, sunshine, +20 °C, a little bit of wind. Well, maybe I'll go for a walk this evening. Sitting in a car during the rush hour is not something one cherishes.

The photograph was taken last weekend. Since then the leaves have got much, much bigger. It is summer, finally.

(Posting title is from the poem You Smiled, You Spoke, and I Believed by Walter Savage Landor.)

Bites lightly

On the news here in Finland is some speculation that this long dry period might diminish the mosquito population so much that we would have much less of these bloodsuckers than usually. But for that to happen there should be a couple of weeks more dry weather, which remains to be seen.

Well, I don't wish for a lot of mosquitoes, but wet weather is usually great news for taking photographs. Well, sometimes there are exceptions.

(Posting title is from Deaf Republic: 16 by Ilya Kaminsky.)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

His helmet is of gold

I commuted by bicycle today, but when I was almost at the Ministry five spokes broke in the back wheel. I got to work all right and on time, but then I had the problem of how to fix the bicycle. I got help from colleagues who also commute by bicycle. Big thanks to them for solving the dilemma!

There are a lot of bicycle shops in the center of Helsinki, but they seemed to be all busy, and earliest time to get my bicycle fixed was some time late next week. However, a bicycle shop in Vantaa, near where I live, promised to get the bicycle fixed by tomorrow, if I bring it there today.

But how to get the bicycle home, as it is not possible to transport bicycles in buses, and trains have restriction during rush hours. Well, fortunately I had some tools with me, so I detached the back wheel from the bicycle, and carried it with me on the tram and on the bus.

I plan to commute by car tomorrow, so I can bring the rest of the bicycle home, and install the repaired (I hope!) back wheel. So, it would be possible to commute by bicycle already on Friday, if everything goes well.

Busy as a bee, they say, and I have been really busy lately. But this fellow wasn't quite all right, and was unable to fly, which fits my feelings quite well.

(Posting title is from the poem The Bee by Emily Dickinson.)

Cry, if you feel like crying, and if no one else is there

I wrote about the "cycling computer" I bought some years ago, it was very cheap then, and I wasn't at all certain it would last for long. But it has been working well for years, must be over six years now, and I have replaced the battery twice within that time. The device has various displays, such as current speed, trip distance, odometer and 12 hour clock, of which I have benefited over the years. The clock has been useful, as also the odometer to know how much exercise I have been getting.

It seems that every once in a while the existence of the net comes as a surprise, as was the case of the missing instruction manual for the cycling computer. After searching for it at home, I decided to try the net, and finally, after 5-10 minutes of trying various search terms, I found the instructions I was looking for. Somehow this still seems like a miracle, especially with such a cheap device that was on sale many years ago.

Here are two photographs from last Saturday, taken at Luukki where I went for a walk with my youngest daughter. Two very different views of the same place.

(Posting title is from the poem Instructions to an Artisan by Amit Majmudar.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The body would like a small mile or two

It is really remarkable how much information there is on the web. I bought years ago a cheap cycle computer for my bicycle, "Union-10 Cycle Computer". Last Friday the battery ran out for the second time, after maybe three years of use. I had lost the manual that came with the device, and didn't remember how to set up the required information, such as tire circumference.

Well, I used Google, but at first my search term produced results that didn't match the device I have. But soon I found the company that apparently designs these devices, Marwi, and from there I searched further until I found the instructions I was looking for. This particular version of the device looks a bit different, but the display and user interface are the same.

And I also found the last missing piece on the net, a table of tire sizes and circumferences.

The clock of the device shows the right time, uses km/h as the measurement unit, and has the approximate circumference of the tire. For now this suffices.

The two photographs shown here are from Saturday, since then I haven't had time or energy to take photographs.

(Posting title is from the poem The Body by Marianne Boruch.)

Monday, May 27, 2013

These are the feet of summer

Here are two photographs from Saturday, taken at Meiko where I went walking with the children. I walked for three hours on Saturday, first at Meiko, and later at Luukki, with my youngest daughter. On Sunday the tiredness caught up with me, and I didn't take photographs, or go out walking. Today I commuted by bicycle once again, and didn't feel so tired any more.

(Posting title is from the poem Fable of the Ant and the Word by Mary Barnard.)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

My insolent soul would be gone like flowers

On Saturday I went with the two oldest daughters for a walk at Meiko. We started east of lake Mustjärvi, circled around the lake from the north end, and explored the rocky hills west of the lake, returning via the south end of the lake. We had picnic on the rocky hills in an open place where the cool wind blew pleasantly.

Originally I had planned to go walking on the swamps, but the daughters wanted to use sneakers for walking, so we selected a dry route, and even though there were some wet spots, it was possible to circle around them.

Mosquito season is now upon us. My oldest daughter says that she never gets bitten, and that seems to be true, but the younger one got bitten, and the bite mark itched quite a lot. I didn't get bites even though I usually do. For me mosquito bites aren't such a problem, as later in the summer one gets used to them and they don't itch so much any more.

Later on Saturday I went for a walk second time, to Luukki with my youngest daughter, who wanted to see how the lake there looks like now.

(Posting title is from the poem The Wild Common by D. H. Lawrence.)

Nothing was burning, nothing but I

These photographs are from Sunday a week ago, taken at lake Iso Lehmälampi, walking there with the children. I think I'll return there at some point, to explore the landscape a bit more, this was a rather quick visit.

(Posting title is from the poem Caedmon by Denise Levertov.)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cover your ears, dear Echo, do not hear

Here are four photographs from last Sunday, taken while walking in Vaakkoi, going to lake Iso Lehmälampi and back from there.

There was a cut in the forest, and at first I didn't realize what was different about it, but then it hit me: the ground had been burned with fire, a practise that is very rare nowadays, not only because of the danger of setting up an out-of-control forest fire. Fireweed, birch and rowan had started the regeneration of the forest in the cut.

And at lake Iso Lehmälampi there was echo, but such one that it only carried high frequences. When the daughters said something, it came back, but when I tried, nothing happened.

(Posting title is from the poem Echo by Daryl Hine.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

A spider in her hair

I have been busy as a bee this week, putting up extra work hours each day, but finally there is some time to relax. I commuted by bicycle, and that was good, it feels that without the 45 minute exercise each morning and afternoon I would have been much more tired than I am now.

I would have posted a photograph of a bee, if there would have been any, but maybe a spider suffices as a subject?

(Posting title is from the poem Bewitched Playground by David Rivard.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Come now, taste what the world has to offer

Here are photographs taken on Saturday, while walking in Nuuksio south of lake Saarijärvi and returning to the parking lot at Yli-Takkula.

I have commuted by bicycle on four days this week, even though yesterday and today it rained plenty. During the previous week I commuted by bicycle on five days. The daily commute is 32 km, 1 1/2 hours, which means in a week 7 1/2 hours of exercise. In addition, during the weeked I have gone walking in forests, typically for 3-4 hours. This means a total of 11 hours of exercise weekly.

In my teens I took part in cross-country skiing competitions, and then I trained for about the same number of hours per week. Of course, I trained much harder, but I think I'm getting into shape right now, as it starts to feel really pleasant to get on the bicycle or start walking in a forest.

Maybe I should also arrange for some rest days, because there is the danger of too much exercise, one should have time to recover after exercise. Now I ride the bicycle for 45 minutes each morning and afternoon during the work week, and this may be too much in the long run, as I'm no longer so young as I was when I competed in skiing.

(Posting title is from the poem What to Eat, What to Drink, and What to Leave for Poison by Camille T. Dungy.)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

If you wish to remember your dream

Here are photographs taken on Saturday, while we returned from the highest point in Nuuksio wilderness. Birch! Birch! Birch! Birch!

(Posting title is from the poem Travel Papers by Carolyn Forché.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Heartbreak, looked at through the wrong end of distance's glasses

I took these photographs last Saturday while walking with the two oldest daughters in Nuuksio wilderness. We visited two places noted as worth seeing in the Espoo guide to outdoors. (See here, in Finnish.)

We started from the parking lot at Yli-Takkula, and walked west towards lake Saarijärvi, where we found the first place, smooth rock at the lakeside. It wasn't that special (maybe I'm not really a rock person), but the waves coming ashore made a soothing sound, which was enjoyable in itself.

The second place was rock also, the highest point in Nuuksio (as well as Espoo and the neighboring cities), at 114.5 meters above sea level. Note that the usually given height of 114.2 meters is outdated since new 1.12.2012 measurement. There was a pile of rocks marking the spot. However, forest is blocking the view, so there wasn't much to see even though the rocky hill is over 40 meters higher than lake Saarijärvi.

(Posting title is from the poem Written on the eve of my 20th high school reunion, which I was not able to attend by A. E. Stallings.)

When one isn’t enough and two can’t do

Here are more photographs taken earlier last week, the first one on Monday a week ago. During the weekend I went twice walking with the two older daughters, on Saturday to Nuuksio, and on Sunday to Vaakkoi. Rain and thunder was promised, but none happened. It was been dry and often rather warm, and summer has progressed rapidly.

(Posting title is from the poem The Progression by Omar Pérez, translated by Kristin Dykstra.)