Staying True To Yourself

Hello dearest friends and readers. I sat down last night to write a post but it took me long into the small hours of the morning, and in the end I went to bed close to tears. Not only because I was just tired, but because in spite of planning for an earlier bedtime, my tasks drag out for so much longer than they normally do. On top of that I am haunted by this impression I get nothing done, and all those photo and art/craft projects I planned have fallen completely to the sidelines.

huittistentie
The “big” road that goes toward Lappi town and Rauma.
the-farm-from-afar
Our farm as seen from where you turn off the big road and into the village.

the-road-home

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road-close-to-home

I took these photos a couple of weeks ago and meant to post them to show you what our little village looks like. Since then, most of the leaves have fallen to the ground. Some trees hang on to them stubbornly, still, but those birches in the last photos are now completely bare.

flooded-field-in-sunlight

We have also had so much rain coming down that the creek next to the fields below the house has flooded. After clearing the meadow I showed you some photos from in a previous post, some of the hay and weed piles remained in the meadow. With all that rain, those piles ended up partially in water and it was so much work to go down there the other day to get it onto a trailer. I walked through water halfway up my boots to the river bank to move it closer to the tractor. Old Fergu (the 1960’s Massey Ferguson) would have gotten stuck if we had taken it into the flooded areas.

hay-on-a-trailer

Last week I took a few days break from Instagram to focus solely on painting our bedroom-to-be. I don’t know what is up with me this autumn — usually I am so full of energy and inspiration that I don’t even have to try. Instead I feel like I am moments away from losing my mind. So I put everything else on hold to be able to paint one room. As I write it, it looks so silly but the only way I get things done right now is to grab onto whatever motivation hits me as it comes. Not a moment later, or I lose it. So that is one of the main reasons I haven’t updated. I didn’t even take any photos of the progress because my singular mantra was paint paint paint. Get it done.

a-forest-road

Of course, now it has come to a stand-still again. I was missing some things to fix the wooden panelling around the closets, and then I waited to go into town. Even knowing I would lose my momentum. I can’t put into words how frustrated I am with myself right now, haha. If I don’t laugh at it the frustration would turn into annoyance and I would end up in tears — which can help. Do you ever find that after having cried, all that which was bundled up inside you disappeared with the tears?

a-forest-bird
This bird ran around in the forest next to one of our fields, burrowing down into sand and dirt, only to run along again and disappear. I have no idea what bird it is — do you?

So much is coloured by the strange grip melancholy has on me lately, but sometimes it is like that, isn’t it? In spite of our best efforts, in spite of maybe having had a really productive and energetic period, these lows arrive when nothing works. Not even photography. Either I haven’t felt like it, or I have forced myself outside only to come home and be overwhelmed by disappointment. More so than usual. Which I know is because of my mood.

rowan-berries

But I love taking photos after rain. All that dew covering the world outside wraps nature in a mystical mantle and I feel like I enter another realm. The sun may peek from behind steely clouds, but the light is mellow. Sombre. Captivating. In tune with my soul, which I sometimes think is toned in blue. As the days grow shorter I sense a change within me, but it also brings the challenge of keeping balance. A challenge in which I seem to have lost the upper hand. Instead of becoming immersed in a world of ideas and projects, I have this autumn slipped right through a rabbit hole to find myself all but apathetic. With only sporadic yet sudden and unpredictable onslaughts of motivation.

So despite my adoration for sombreness, I didn’t like any of the photos I took in the past week and almost deleted them completely. At least I managed to shake myself enough to say you will get past this, be spontaneous but not rash, be impulsive but responsibly.

birch-leaves-whirling

Chaos. That is what I have felt a touch of in the past week. Thoughts flit from one thing to another — a million and one things can go through my head in one day yet by the time I go to bed I remember none of it. Only that I had so many things to do and not even a fraction got done.

aspen-trunks
Aspen trees are my absolutely favourite trees. I just love them so much.
aspen-leaves-and-branches
And the rustling sound of these leaves in the wind is unlike any other.

So last night I battled with myself whether to write or not. Even though I want to share my journey in all its colours and shades, I can’t help but ask where to drawn the line. Is there a limit?

wind-blown-web-threads

During those days, when I hardly looked at my feed on Instagram, didn’t sit down to edit photos nor did anything with my photography or my artistry, I wondered about trying to find a job to earn money. The thought made me ill. I have never and doubt I ever could be motivated by money. Even if that money would allow me to get new camera equipment so I could stop stressing about my current camera not being capable of certain things, or the fact that the best lens I use right now isn’t even my own. Not even that trumps the lump in my stomach I got at the thought of going into a workplace to do my nine-to-five. I have done it and every single time I end up having a mental breakdown.

I mentioned these thoughts out loud the other day to someone, and I instantly felt that familiar outsider sensation. Like there is something wrong with me. Why can’t I be like others and just go to work? I managed to squash it quickly, but in that brief moment I wished my words back and felt so incredibly small. Insignificant. Inadequate. Just a failure. In spite of the person passing no judgment and offering only encouragement.

rowan-berries-in-water-puddle

The thing is, if I do not have the freedom to change my position or my surroundings when I know I need to, I feel trapped and can’t function. I am that sensitive and I can’t seem to do anything about it. I spent years and so much effort trying to fit into the traditional work place and I still suffer from how deeply it disrupted my own sense of self. When I have to fight to be myself on a near daily basis — to me that is a strong enough reminder how capable we humans are to change. Even change that is not in tune with who we are. And it breaks my heart when I think and wonder about how many of us force ourselves into careers and jobs to secure a pension for when we get old enough to retire. That we would have go through half a lifetime (and more) and many times not even then be able to do the things we really want.

I am fortunate, though. Truly blessed. I have a partner who doesn’t mind me not going to work — and we can live on his income. It worries me all the same. That I am not doing my part, even if I know he doesn’t think like that. In spite of having reminded me time and again that it really is all right, these thoughts and the accompanying sense of inadequacy wells up inside me when I think of how I contribute nothing toward paying the bills. I can’t put money into my daughter’s fund. On top of it all, I have a loan from my studies in Sweden which I am supposed to begin paying back next year.

When I came back home before Christmas last year, my entire being was convinced I would figure it out within a year. That I would by the end of 2017 be in a position to at least start paying off my loan. Yet here I am, with a little over two months left of the year, and the reality is close to suffocating. In spite of all this, I also know I won’t give up. Isn’t it strange? I still believe it will work out in the midst of my doubts and the odds seemingly stacked against me. That belief is the one thing that keeps me above the surface, the one light that I aim at the shadows when they begin to drag me below. I can’t explain it, nor do I understand it. But I will hold on to it all the same and continue. I have given up too much in my life to do so again. And it has been at these exact times, when all has felt impossible, that I have dropped everything and run away.

Not again. Never again.

If chaos is what I am right now, then so be it. I have my family, I live on a beautiful farm, I can walk out the door and be embraced by nature. I have you. And even if I am disappointed in my camera, I can still capture the journey with it in the best way I know how.

I will leave you with the last two verses of a poem I read a couple of years ago. The Guy in the Glass by Dale Wimbrow. I hope your week has gone well and I wish you a lovely weekend ahead. Much love. ❤

You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.

 

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Touched By Art

Hello, everyone! Even though I have joined the weekly photo challenge it feels like forever since I actually blogged. There have been times when I have wanted so badly to reconnect but not only have we had so much to do–the attic project, other cleaning and clearing-out projects around the house, preparing for harvest, among much else–I just couldn’t get the words out. I sat down a few times but nothing happened.

Today, however, I am going to share a little frame project with you that I have been wanting to show you ever since I got the painting that inspired me to do the frame in the first place.

RamvikCape

I told you that I went to an art exhibition when I was in Sweden for a holiday with Lilli, but I was too excited and emotional about it still that I couldn’t get the words together to tell you about it. I can’t tell you how silly I felt when I left Junsele that day. Ever since I heard about the exhibition I knew I would make sure Lilli and I could go there. I haven’t followed Jonna Jinton’s journey right from the beginning, when she left her apartment in Gothenburg and moved all by herself to the small village of Grundtjärn in northern Sweden some seven years ago, but her blog and her art–photography, painting, the haunting tunes she produces by practicing the ancient herding call–touches my very soul. So naturally I had so many questions, things I wanted to say, but once there I couldn’t get the words out. Does that qualify as fangirl problems? I think I even forgot to sign my name in the guestbook under my message.

All that said, it was a wonderful day, and I may have forgotten half the things we did talk about, but she is ever as bit real and genuine as she is in her blog. A truly amazing human being. And I am so happy both Lilli, my brother, and I got to meet her and her partner. I certainly hope there will be more opportunities, especially since my daughter has become so very much inspired by Jonna. More about that later.

Driftwood

I remember when I was much younger and used to go down to the river with my mother to collect rocks and driftwood. My mother would paint on some of the pieces, and others were ready artworks already. Gnarled and twisted, bleached and mystical. I just love driftwood. So when I came back to Ramvik with the painting I bought at the exhibition, I knew instantly what kind of frame I wanted for it.

AbandonedBoat
This old boat has been sitting there for so long I can’t even remember it not being there.

I already had some driftwood I collected during the two years I studied in Sweden, but Lilli and I took a walk down to the cape and collected some more to bring back home to Finland. So I now have an entire IKEA-bag full–and then some.

Driftwood, however, can be very fragile, so I needed to build a frame to which I could attach the driftwood pieces. I wanted to get started as soon as we came home, but things kept getting in the way. I did document some of the steps, though, when I managed to squeeze in some time for it.

OldSaw

CuttingCorners

AllPiecesDone
I got the measurements a little wrong, and didn’t realise until I was ready to glue and nail it together.

We have so much wood here that it wasn’t difficult to find material. The saw is vintage and the blade was so dull, but I managed. And it was easy enough to adjust to get the right angles. I will be getting a new blade for it for future projects because it really is so handy.

MasoniteTriangles

WoodglueAndNails

One day I went into Rauma to K-Rauta and bought some nails, wood glue, and I had some paint since earlier. I have another project with those wooden logs I wrote about in an earlier post. You can read a little about that here. The details of that project I am still leaving for a later post–it has evolved since the initial idea–even if I am dying to tell you about it.

FinishedFrame

 

FrameDetails

Working with wood is something I truly love. There is something peaceful yet energising about it. Everything from picking out the pieces to sawing and sanding. I easily lose myself in it and I love that feeling. My mind goes quiet and I just exist in the moment. It’s like I become all my senses, and all those complicated thoughts that I tend to trip and stumble over disappear. I guess it is the same with drawing and photography, but getting to work with my hands the way I do when I handle wood is something deeper, more soulful.

CozyCorner

IMG_1305
Can you believe this is what it looked like earlier this year? This room is called tupa in Finnish, which is the first room you enter in the house–after the foyer. It is now our new living room.

Harvesting season has just begun and it usually takes a couple of weeks, but after that I really hope to get some more time for my own projects. And to be able to finish the goals I set earlier this year for the house. Clearing out boxes and piles of things that have been left over the last couple of years. Plain junk or valuable memorabilia from past generations–it doesn’t matter. When it is piled up in stacks all around the house it leaves this chaotic energy that sucks me in and I have such a hard time getting past it. At times it seems to be at a standstill–nothing happens, housework piles up, Loke’s hairs gather in the corners and follow our socks and clothes onto every surface in this entire house. It drives me mad sometimes, and I can get so grumpy, but I try to tell myself I’ll get there. To look at what I have accomplished (like with the living room, for example). All it takes is a little every day. One step at a time, right?

Lastly, I want to share another painting we got, also by Jonna, and the story behind it is quite amazing. In an affiliation with Samsung, Jonna painted this, and Lilli saw the video she made while working on the painting. She was both horrified and mesmerised when Jonna started painting outside the canvas–on the wall. You can find her video here.

JonnaJintonArt

JonnaJintonStyles

And so Lilli wanted to paint her own galaxy. I watched as she dripped paint and smudged it, just like Jonna, and while I don’t have a photo of that handy right now, the result was sent in to an art school in Rauma. This morning we got the message that Lilli is accepted and starts next week on Tuesday. It is only one day a week, but Lilli loves drawing and painting and I am ever so grateful and thankful for the way art touches us. All of us.

And I am also so thankful you are still here, and for the newcomers as well. I hope to get back to updating more regularly soon, but until then, I have found Instagram Stories to be a lot of fun and easy to manage, and I share a couple of photos a day on my account, so if you are curious about what goes on and my updates on the blog are sparse, head on over. Link is here, or just click the Instagram icon or any of the photos at the bottom of my blog.

I wish you a lovely weekend. Much love and hugs to you. ❤