Info

landscape nature home

Posts tagged sense of place

i haven’t been to crete in a few years now. it is at its most beautiful in winter, when it rains. the island turns green, the skies are dramatic, and there is no dust. and almost no vacationers…

rethymno, greece rethymno, greece FPN5000_05_1-517797 FPN5000_06_1-517797 FPN5000_07_1-517797 rethymno, greece FPN5000_22_1-517797 FPN5000_17_1-517797 crete, greece chania, greece rethymno, greece FPN5000_03_1-517797 paralia episkopis, crete, greece FPN5000_18_1-517797 chania, greece rethymno, greece sea and rocks

suomi and ellada. finland and greece. as i mentioned before, a hybrid of the two would be my dream place with select features enhanced and magically fused. flat, filled with meadows and forests of pines, birches, and aspens in the north. mountainous, rocky, minimalistic in its arboreal scarcity in the south. of course, the sea would be omnipresent. there would be thousands of islands off the coast. the inhabitants would be friendly, unpretentious, and polite. they would know how to be silent and how to party, each in its good time. there would not be too many of them so that everyone could have their vis-a-vis with nature when they felt like it…

yellow meadow, southern finland rocks, greece and finland rocky astypalaia, greece

it was a day one could rightfully call tranquil. in the nordic sense of it. a fine september day of warm, humid air that somehow always reminds me of milk. barely any wind. barely any mosquitoes. quietness. there is no direct sunlight; instead it comes through a greyish layer of clouds that form a blanket. it hangs low and makes you feel comfortable. the smells pull your nose closer to the ground where you can take a better whiff. they are warm and casually intense. the ground is the olfactory treasury of autumn as opposed to summer when the smells seem to come at you from above.

i hadn’t seen my parents in a few months as i lived in a different city. we went to our dacha not far from the ladoga lake. dacha is a russian word for a summer house/ cabin, the distinction being that in russian it is strongly associated with garden labor as people usually grow all kinds of vegetables, berries, and fruits on the attached parcel of land, however small. my family is no exception. over the years, however, produce was to a solid extent replaced by grasses and flowering flora as my mother’s interest in the plant world and her knowledge of botany, sustainable practices, and landscape design grew. she now even receives commissions to create small-scale landscapes. it is quite ironic because, according to her own words, when she was younger the concept of “digging in the ground for pleasure” was wholly foreign to her.

my dad is a retired military man. he is really good with his hands. he built the cabin all by himself and he helps my mom with gardening and landscaping work. they are a power tandem. they of course still grow tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, pumpkins, and various squashes. berries are a BIG thing, too, as for most people in northern europe. honeysuckle, gooseberry, barberry, red and black currant, wild and garden strawberry, raspberry, juneberry, physalis are all there…

we spent most of the day outside. we did nothing extraordinary and yet i often go back to that day in my memory. there is something archetypal in it for me that i cannot clearly explain. the place, the weather, the family. everything as it should be when you are home.

is there a day like that for you?

DSC_0005
(more…)