An Easter Greeting

Good morning my dear readers. It’s Good Friday and the rest of the house is quiet apart from our freezer humming in the room next to me, and there is a subtle whoosh of water going through the radiators. I just settled in in front of my screen with a mocha coffee. For Christmas last year Jay and I got one of those one-cup coffee machines for ourselves, and ever since I have been almost addicted to using a shot of dark chocolate in my first cup of coffee every day. I have consciously been trying to reduce my caffeine intake, though, especially at night. Some days it works, some days not so well. I read that if you have trouble with your thyroid, caffeine is not good. A couple of regular sized cups a day is all right, but on average I drink way more than that so I thought I would try to cut down, at least until I know whether or not an underactive thyroid is what is causing my tiredness and anemia.

Before I write anything else I really want to say thank you all for the so, so lovely comments on my last post. I know I might be silly thinking this way, but somehow I always end up feeling that with having become so inactive on my blog, and taking forever to reply to comments, I somehow don’t deserve anyone’s attention. I have made friends over the years with whom I have lost contact because I am so terrible at keeping in touch. It’s hard to explain to someone I know why I get like that — it never has anything to do with that I don’t care for them or don’t value their friendship. After a while I feel so incredibly dumb for declining invites over and over, and somehow trying to explain why leaves me feeling like I fraud. I want to get better at this, though, because I do understand silence and avoidance only leaves the other person wondering and questioning if they are at fault. This happened just recently and it gave me a thorough shake and a kind of eye-opener. Any state of depression or exhaustion is a lonely place; I like to have my own space but this loneliness is so very different than choosing retreat when I just need to refuel. Instead of consciously craving to be alone I want closeness but can’t reach out. It’s like becoming trapped in my own misery. I drown in it. The shame takes over and makes that distance all the more difficult to cross. Can you recognise the feeling?

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To write down how I feel, and to try and paint a picture of what it’s like on the inside is somehow so much easier when I write a blog post. I really wonder why that is. Of course, the language is one factor — I may be able to speak Finnish well, and I have heard so many times how good I am at speaking the language, but it’s only in general conversation. I have no idea what words to use or how to converse about emotional topics in Finnish. Several years ago when I went to therapy, I got to speak with a therapist who knew Swedish. When that wasn’t an option I switched to English when I couldn’t express myself in Finnish. I have actually thought about this a lot lately, that maybe one side to how I am feeling is that I am a foreigner. I may have lived in Finland on and off for ten years now, but I can still feel totally alien. It is definitely my own fault — I have isolated myself out here on the farm and haven’t actively worked to seek a social life outside the family.

I could write so much more on this, but what I wanted (before I got carried away) was to show you that pot I painted, and to share some photos from the past week, and some from before that. The sun is getting warmer every day now and the snow is melting. I can’t tell you how absolutely divine it is to stand outside on the warmer days. Spring really is staking a claim on the earth now, and even though I have been outside so little this year, I still have many photos I haven’t shared with you yet. But first — the pot!

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I really am so happy with the results. I had many ideas on how to paint this pot, but after layering the colours I was so pleased with the texture I didn’t want to do anything else to it. It also reminded me of how much I really love working with my hands, and it has motivated me even further to fight this mind fog so I can do more. For example I have a big IKEA bag full of drift wood I brought with me to Finland last year (and even more in the garage, some up against a wall next to the office, and more in a cardboard box, haha) with which I had many plans and ideas. Some of you might remember the frame I made out of drift wood for a painting last year.

That the light (or lack thereof) can do so much to a person is something which fascinates me and leaves me in a sense of wonder. Some weeks back I sat and went through some photos. I had just come back inside from a walk around the old buildings here on the farm. It was just above zero but the snow dwindled silently and the wet flakes left me with a chill, so I didn’t linger too long. As I sat with these photos I noticed that instead of snow covering the evergreens, there were water droplets everywhere. A mixture of relief and giddiness surged through me and I almost started crying.

 

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Since then we have had some really cold days, with temperatures of ten below zero or more, and others much warmer. One day we had six above. This time is almost holy to me. These fluctuations mark the end of winter and beginning of spring and it’s like every cell in my body comes alive to respond to it. At times it catches me off guard and I become so overwhelmed by the sensation tears fill my eyes. Do you experience similar things? Or is there something in particular that signifies end of winter or beginning of spring for you?

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Another symbol of spring for me are the catkins. I noticed the first ones on a very cold day several weeks ago, and I was so surprised to see them there in a landscape still embedded in snow and wintry shimmer. That day was so magical, though, and I stayed outside longer than my hands could handle. The warmth of the sun on my face had me entranced. The song of birds created the most beautiful symphony mixed up with Loke’s and my own slow, crispy steps across glittering fields.

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I am actually wearing my PJ pants in this photo above, haha. They have been the most comfy pants but I had to brave the shops and hunt down a new pair since the fabric has gotten so so thin. I suppose it doesn’t matter when only Jay, Lilli and Loke are around, but sometimes our kitchen or dining room becomes an office or conference area when there are meetings related to the farming business. I usually make myself scarce at those times, but I still imagine it looks odd for someone to walk around in PJ’s in the middle of the day. 😉 Especially extremely worn PJ’s. Haha

One evening when the sun stood low, I looked out toward the trees where our road leads off the farm. The most amazing light painted the tree trunks and branches in an almost fiery pink/red, and I rushed through the house to gather my camera and tripod. When I got outside, I switched direction and went for our lower fields instead, distracted by the colour in the sky. Ever since I have wanted to show you this ethereal sunset. By the time I was satisfied I had enough photos of it, the sun had dropped lower and the light was gone from the trees.

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Can you see the reflections on the snow? I was in complete awe as I stood there. It was cold but the sun still set rather quickly then, so I managed to get back inside before my fingers froze. It’s incredible how fast that changes now — how the sun’s descent slows down and graces us with these gorgeous colours for longer and longer with each day passing. I was here about a week before this photo was taken to capture the subtle grace of this late winter light. Then I found an icy wonderland behind our storage building and crept around with my tripod in the bushes to get some closeups until my hands were on fire with the cold.

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It was after these photos I was in so much pain I didn’t know what to do with myself. Regardless, I have to say they were worth it. With time it seems most pains subside, no matter how deeply they cut in the present, and it is in that transition I think it becomes easier to look beyond and see that even when we have been at our worst, when the nights were so dark, light was there. It kept us company. We were not alone — we never are truly alone.

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Our house is waking up now, but before I leave I would like to wish you all a beautiful Easter, and show you a couple of photos of the flowers I bought. Getting those plants just made me want even more! 😀

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Lily of the Valley might be my absolute favourite flower

Once again, thank you all so much for the inspiration you truly give me. I am also so happy and grateful for the feedback you gave me after my request in my last post, and I have already taken some photos to share together with the story of my tattoo, so that might be up next! I would also like to take this opportunity to say that if you ever think of something you would like me to write about or to photograph don’t be shy to let me know. I will try to honour most requests. ❤

Much love, hugs and a happy Easter weekend!

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“Strength, Courage, Wisdom” ❤

The Seasons Within

Hi, everyone. Are you also looking outside and wondering what is happening with the weather? On this farm the weather is really important. We have temperature and precipitation measuring devices all over the place and apps in our phones. It’s a topic on the lips of my partner and his father every day. It is strange, though, how we go through all the seasons in one day, sometimes even within the span of a couple of hours. Or less! And to top it off, I have gone and caught the flu. My partner and daughter had it last week. But it’s good that we take turns, so there is at least one functional person keeping this house running!

I would like to share with you some thoughts I had last night, when I just couldn’t go to sleep, regardless of being dead-tired and feverish. I got out of bed and fetched my journal to empty my mind (and it worked! Yay!). But this morning I continued thinking about it. Growth. Ambition. Getting things done according to plan. But sometimes it just doesn’t work out, does it? No matter how hard we try, in spite of our best intentions and planning. I was frustrated that I couldn’t get my next instalment of My Love For The High Coast published. I had written in my Editorial Calendar that I will publish one piece from the series every week, and one week had passed since the last one. But my mind and body craved bed and sleep and the harder I fought the sicker I felt. So I wrote in my journal and came to the conclusion that even though I would like to think that I can be at peace with things and accept them as they come, as they are, I still continue pushing myself. Too hard. Way too hard.

I tend to come to a stand-still, which is something I am sure we all feel from time to time. Nothing happens. We’re not necessarily taking a step backwards, but we’re not going forward, either. Kind of like with the weather right now. It’s spring, but the world is yellowed and gray. We have sown the first seeds of the year but they won’t grow when temperatures drop below zero at night.

All these things spun around in my mind, and I then wrote this is also part of the process. This is also the journey. Maybe this is what matters right now? The seemingly insignificant. The stand-still.

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All that grows has stages of appearing still, not moving. At those times, deeper processes are at work, though. The mysteries and hidden wonders of life. And in these moments, perhaps we are to remain as we are? Take a breath. Not even reflect. Just be and watch.

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Because that which is not visible or even discernible needs energy, too. And if I keep digging, keep pushing, I disrupt the balance. The balance of nature, which I am a part of. The seasons within us and around us. I can’t affect the weather, but I can try to understand. And I thought about the chaotic fluctuations between warmth and cold, snow and rain. Maybe nature is finding its balance, stabilising itself. And maybe that is why I find this time of the year most taxing, usually suffering depression and anemia and having to take a ton of iron and other supplements to raise my blood levels. This year especially–I can’t remember having dropped this low. Not in this way. Just a month ago I had a scare; I felt nothing and the emptiness nearly took my breath away. I was pale as snow, washed out gray and ashen!

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So maybe we are all finding our balance right now, thawing out of winter. Spring will arrive, just as surely as that awful moment of nothingness passed. A warm breeze will sweep across our fields, the earth will soak up the sun, regain its energies. One day soon we will wake up to buds on the trees, and the world will burst with those first vibrant sprouts. Nature will shine. I will shine.

It’s all a process–it’s another season of life. And I’m a part of it.

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