Thursday, March 31, 2016

When we find them, we will wonder

The photographs were taken on March 16th.

I have been commuting by bicycle this week. It is much lighter and somewhat faster now, thanks to not having to use studded winter tires. The commute time has dropped to 45 minutes in one direction, even though there is quite a lot of gravel on the asphalt. Also, roadworks are slowing the way, as I need to take a detour through two sets of traffic lights, and cross a busy road without traffic lights.

(Posting title is from the poem Common Blue by Melissa Kwasny.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The consummation of the advertisements of the imagination of the light

The photographs were taken on March 16th in Helsinki.

I commuted by bicycle today. It was warm, 2 °C in the morning and 9 °C in the afternoon. I had slick summer tires in the bicycle, and it was smooth riding.

(Posting title is from the poem The True-Blue American by Delmore Schwartz.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

And the day unfolds around its needle

The photographs were taken in north parts of Sipoonkorpi National Park on March 12th and 13th, and it was great to walk across snow that was frozen hard.

Last night the temperature dropped below 0 °C. Early this morning I went to Vaakkoi, walking across the chain of swamps in the north part of the area. The snow and ice carried well, except in some spots where the swamp had already melted. I had tall rubber boots, so that was all right.

The warm weather has melted snow rapidly. At Helsinki-Vantaa airport there was 15 cm of snow last Thursday, and this morning 2 cm. The situation is a bit different in Nuuksio and Vaakkoi, where there is still almost 20 cm of snow on the shadowed hillsides.

I changed yesterday summer tires to the car, and it is much quieter to drive now. The studded winter tires generate a lot of noise.

(Posting title is from the poem In Lovely Blue by Friedrich Hölderlin.)

Monday, March 28, 2016

I looked all around and all over

The photographs were taken at Sipoonkorpi National Park on March 13th.

Today I walked around lake Suolikas in Nuuksio, which took 2 1/4 hours. On the shadowed south side of the lake the snow was frozen hard, making it easy walking. I didn't see anyone else at the lake. Sun was shining brightly. When I started walking, it was +1 °C, and when I returned, it was +5 °C.

(Posting title is from the poem The Foggy, Foggy Blue by Delmore Schwartz.)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Blue that I know you

The photographs were taken in the north parts of Sipoonkorpi National Park on March 12th.

Today I visited the south parts of Sipoonkorpi for the first time. The parking place at the Tasakalliontie road was empty when I arrived, but when I left there were six cars in addition to mine.

I explored the path going east from the parking place, and then I walked around the Kalkkiruukki Nature Trail. The path was icy, and it took some effort to climb the steepest hills, and in some places I left the path to explore the forest nearby. I didn't meet anyone on the trail. Maybe it was too early in the morning, or maybe people thought that the path was too slippery.

Today I walked for 2 1/2 hours. This week I have got 14 1/2 hours of exercise, five hours riding the bicycle and 9 1/2 hours walking.

Update: I noticed that there is a warning about the Kalkkiruukki Nature Trail:

Kalkkiruukki Nature Trail will be renovated over the next couple of years. Steps will be fixed, bridges will be built and the trail markings will be improved. Until then, do the trail only if you feel confident on walking on it. At places, the steep trail sections are slippery in moist weather, and some steps are missing.

Today the trail was slippery indeed, because of the ice, and the water on top of the ice.

(Posting title is from the poem Night Magic (Blue Jester) by Lorna Dee Cervantes.)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Patiently, clear-sighted

The photographs were taken on March 6th at Luukki.

This morning I explored for 2 1/4 hours the valley of love, which is what Lemmenlaakso means in English. This was the first time to visit Lemmenlaakso, in Järvenpää 35 km north of Helsinki.

A river makes a lot of curves around the Lemmenlaakso valley, and there are paths to follow along the river. Between April 1st and July 15th it is forbidden to walk elsewhere than on the marked paths in the protected area by the river, because birds are nesting there. Today I walked outside the marked paths, climbing up and down the river banks. I didn't meet other people until I returned to the parking place. It wasn't quite so quiet, though. The big E75 road nearby produces a lot of noise.

Today there was still some snow left on the ground, and ice on the river, but spring is advancing. There was some rain in the morning, and temperature stays above 0 °C, raising to +4 °C in the afternoon.

(Posting title is from the poem Cloud Fishing by Phillis Levin.)

Friday, March 25, 2016

This episode in silent dignity

The photographs were taken on March 5th at Sipoonkorpi.

Today I walked for 2 1/2 hours at Kytäjä-Usmi outdoor are in Hyvinkää, 45 km north of Helsinki. In Helsinki the temperature has been at +1 °C or warmer for 24 hours, but in Hyvinkää the temperature dropped to just below 0 °C during the night, and today morning the snow was still a little bit frozen, carrying a person walking. I didn't use the existing paths but instead walked across forests, following deer tracks, or just going across unbroken snow.

(Posting title is from the poem Homage to Clotho: A Hospital Suite by L. E. Sissman.)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A number, not a hue, this blue

The photographs were taken on February 28th in Nuuksio.

This morning I walked for over 2 1/2 hours in Meiko, exploring Slätmossen swamp, visiting lake Vaipo and lake Viträsk, and circling around lake Meiko. There was hard snow and ice on the swamp, carrying a person walking. Sun was behind the clouds, but it was bright enough to feel like spring.

(Posting title is from the poem Dyed Carnations by Robyn Schiff.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Gently disintegrate me

The photographs were taken on February 27th at Sipoonkorpi.

The weather is warming up, and it may be that the next night will be the last cold night this spring. Tomorrow I'm planning to go for a long walk across an open swamp. I hope that the snow is frozen hard enough to carry a person walking.

(Posting title is from the poem Enter a Cloud by W. S. Graham.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

And yet the thing that most is your desire

The photographs were taken on February 25th at the National Museum of Finland.

The weather continues to be sunny. We had -11 °C in the morning and +1 °C in the afternoon. The road starts to be ok for summer tires, except for some patches of ice in shadowed spots. Riding the bicycle feels good indeed.

(Posting title is from the poem Of the Mean and Sure Estate by Sir Thomas Wyatt.)

Monday, March 21, 2016

It was glorified by my distance

The photographs were taken in Luukki on February 25th.

I commuted by bicycle today, and it was good. In the morning there was a little bit of new snow on the road, and in some places there was ice under the snow. In the afternoon the snow had melted, and so had a lot of the ice, so the road was mostly bare. In the morning one needed studded winter tires, but in the afternoon summer tires would have been ok except for some patches of ice. I had a studded winter tire in the front and a slick summer tire in the back, which was a working compromise.

The same conditions probably apply each day this week, because of cold nights: ice in the morning, which melts away by the afternoon. However, the conditions could be much worse for riding the bicycle. For example, there could be dead kangaroos on the road.

In March I have got 303 km of riding the bicycle, and 751 km in total so far this year. Not bad considering that I lost a week of riding when the old bicycle got broken.

(Posting title is from the poem Fourth of July, 2012 by Robyn Schiff.)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

From his desk he had a view of the street

The photographs were taken on February 24th in Helsinki.

This morning I went for a walk in Luukki, and the snow was frozen so that it carried a person. It wasn't quite as fine a day as yesterday, when the sun was so bright that it hurt the eyes, but it was bright enough, and the sun appeared a couple of times from behind the cloud cover.

The weather forecast promises cold weather and some new snow for the next week. I installed a studded winter tire to the front wheel of the bicycle. This should help in steering and braking.

(Posting title is from the poem Vandergast and the Girl by Louis Simpson.)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

From the snow-remembering heart

The photographs were taken in Nuuksio, near Velskola, on February 24th.

My left-side leg, hip, arm and palm are somewhat sore from the fall yesterday. I was rather angry with myself for not taking enough care when riding the bicycle. I had slick summer tires, and didn't pay enough attention, and thus I didn't manage to avoid the icy patch on the road in a curve.

Today I went for a walk despite the soreness, starting at 7:30 AM at Vaakkoi. It was sunny and cold. On open swamps the wet snow had frozen under 1-2 cm of lightweight fresh snow. The snow carried a person walking, and I followed a chain of open swamps in the north parts of Vaakkoi, walking for almost 2 1/2 hours.

So far I have got only 7 hours of exercise this week, because of the broken old bicycle. But I'm thinking of exploring swamps also tomorrow.

(Posting title is from the poem Almond Blossom by D. H. Lawrence.)

Friday, March 18, 2016

A drooping head with unfamiliar eyes

The photographs were taken on February 24th at Velskola.

I received yesterday the new bicycle, and got it ready for riding, installing the lock pedals and front and back light. However, I noticed that the bicycle had a Shimano Nexus 8 gear hub installed. I thought I would be getting a Shimano Alfine 8 gear hub, based on the information at the web pages of the shop.

I sent an e-mail complaining about this. The shop told that this was a copying error on their web pages, referring to the description of the maker of the bicycle. Also, they indicated that the price difference between the Nexus and Alfine gear hub isn't that great. Well, I thought about this for a while, and went ahead and asked for studded winter tires as compensation (Schwalbe Marathon Winter). The shop said that they can give one tire free if I buy one, and I accepted, given that the tire was on sale, at 29 percent discount.

My old bicycle had a Nexus 8 gear hub, similar to the one in the new bicycle, except that the color is now black. However, the shiftlever is different. I did a test run of the bicycle today, and had some trouble adapting to the shiftlever, missing gears and changing gears to the wrong direction. On the other hand, the geometry of the bicycle seems good, in fact better than with the old bicycle. The old was 59 cm in size and the new is 58 cm.

The day didn't end so well, though. We got 5 cm of snow last night. Some of it melted and some of it turned into ice. I had slick summer tires in the bicycle, and I fell down. Fortunately I didn't have much speed, but it hurt, and I got some road rash in my arm. The knee got hit as well, but no open wounds there, which is better than last November. I'm not sure whether I'm able to do much walking during the weekend, due to soreness and muscle pain.

I really shouldn't have tried riding the bicycle with the summer tires. When there is ice on the road, studded winter tires are a necessity. I should have waited for them to arrive.

(Posting title is from the poem The Flight by Grace Schulman.)