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Micro-memoirs from the past weeks

After the Spring Equinox post I felt I'd like to keep on posting diary entries more regularly. As almost every day there are small observations and funny moments which spark stories and thoughts in my mind. But seems like I've failed to sit down to write those stories. And sometimes, in the late evening when I might have time to write I've somehow felt those stories maybe aren't that interesting, and that I'm lacking words, that I'm too tired and disoriented to form sensible sentences. And so days turn into weeks and weeks accumulate to a couple of months. But, finally, here I am seated next to the computer with an intention to post micro-memoirs from the past weeks.

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It is mid-April, and it has been a rather ordinary week of work. I've planned to visit Sami for the weekend. The route to Sami's place goes via Jyväskylä, a mid-sized city in Central Finland. Jyväskylä is where the Litku Klemetti band lives at, and on Friday night it was going to be their album release gig there. So, despite feeling somewhat tired and empty, I decided to leave right after the last customers of Friday. While I was driving I thought if I'd send a message to a friend living in Jyväskylä, asking if we can meet when I'm driving back after the weekend. But somehow all the social interaction at work had wore down my energies and contacting a friend felt like too much an effort. So I just immersed into my little personal sphere, and arrived at Jyväskylä just in time to catch the first band. (There were two bands playing before Litku Klemetti, and I wanted to see all of them). The first band was Guggenheim-projektz, they got me dancing. The next band was Hulda Huima, and so I was dancing around. Sure, all the music and dancing made me feel connected with the rest of the world, so I texted my friend. The reply: "I'm on my way to the Litku Klemetti gig, so see you soon!". I felt open and present in the moment, so social interaction with friends felt extremely delightful and refreshing. And the Litku Klemetti gig was good, too =)

The weekend with Sami was cheerful. This time we didn't do any coding, but shot a video greeting and discussed the history and future of UnReal World. Sami gave me a set of arrows, as for years I've been thinking I'd like to resume my archery practice as well. On my way back home I visited an art exhibition, to see the works of a friend. All of the works were fine, and I found some of them personally touching. Like an image of two persons having a sauna bath, pictured in a style resembling the religious icons of Eastern Orthodox Church, using only shades of yellow. "This, exactly, is how a good sauna bath can feel like!" I thought to myself. The exhibition was set up in a small indie art center, and I went on to see most of the abundancy of art the center had on display. Everything from joyous colourful naivistic paintings to meditative landscapes. The man running the art centre offered me a cup of coffee so we sat down to have a little chat. After the coffee I continued my journey back home. At Jyväskylä I made another stop, so that we had a bit more time to discuss with the friend who I briefly met at the Litku gig. Over the years it has many times been so that meeting this friend is not only nice for the moment, but also leaves me feeling like a long forgotten door has been unlocked and opened inside the depths of my soul. And so it was this time again. When I got back at home I felt a yet another long-term inner obstacle had been overcome.

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A natural flow of good energies carry me for the rest of the April. That is helped by not having that many customers for massage - less time spend in role-based social interactions, and more time spend fishing pike at the nearby bay of the lake. At the weekend I visit friends' family at Tampere, spending most of the evening playing with their kids. Now when my own son is already an adult I find a certain sense of nostalgy in playing with little kids. Children they live in semi-magical world coloured by rich imagination, and the wonder of discovery for the world appears afresh for them. It is a delight to get to join them in that world, improvising and imagining and just being present at the moment. Seeing the adults was great, too. Nice discussions, and a lot of tasty food enjoyed together. This is the atmosphere I've always wanted to have in my life.

After that it was the first of May, which in Finland is one of the major yearly events. In the cities people gather to have picknics at parks. There are political marches for justice, against all forms of oppression. And a lot of people tend to get drunk. A bunch of friends came to celebrate at my place. Also, this year it is ten years since I moved to live at this house, so I wanted to celebrate that together with friends. We prepared a lot of food and set up a banquet outdoors. Everyone gathered around the garden table and according to the First of May traditions I gave a political speech; "Already as a teenager I decided that instead of trying to convince other people to change their ways I just want to have my small semi-isolated alternative reality where dreams of equality and justice can be lived true. And that at my current home, with these great friends in my life, it finally feels the dream coming true." After the food we slowly started heating up the sauna and the garden bath-tub. At one point, in the midst of having the sauna, we went to my garden pond, listening to frogs' constant ribbit. It is moments like these I love; being together with friends, all paying attention to a small yet fabulous display of nature.

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Most of the May turns out to be a lot warmer than usual. I have quite a lot of work and notice my energies slowly wearing down. Whenever I have time I try to do some gardening work which I enjoy. Some days I meet friends which is nice. Weeks fly by, there is no rain and the garden starts to need daily irrigation. I haven't set up any kind of pump and hose -system, so I just haul water with buckets from the pond. Although it takes some time I quite enjoy the simple meditative work which it is. I switch off the refrigerator, for it feels like waste of electricity to keep the refrigerator running to store a little youghurt or an occasional piece of cheese. So, when shopping for food I pick items which can be stored in room temperature.

And so goes the May. Constantly having quite full days of work wore down my longer term energies, and when I had free time at home I didn't get as much done as I wished to. So I focused on gardening, as that is the most time-sensitive of the tasks I had planned to do. There are things you can postpone for weeks or for months, but planting seeds and saplings needs to be done about the right time. I enjoy doing the gardening work barefoot - warm soil feels so comforting, it always reminds me how deeply we are connected with nature, how our life depends on the fertility of the soil.

June began with celebrations. First it was a birthday party of a friend. The party started as a picnic in the park, and later on in the night we went to dance in a bar. As the sun was rising (around 3 am) we walked down the quiet streets of the city and went to the friend's apartment to eat something. At some point I thought to myself that this feels like living the youth I never quite had. When I was twenty-something, I led a life of a responsible father, spending most of my time at home (and enjoying all of it). At those times I didn't enjoy going to bars, and I was a lot more anxious so that I couldn't dance in the public. But now, at the age of 43 I find myself dancing wildly and staying up late, enjoying the company and momentarily forgetting about most of the responsibilities of the days to come. Well, and the only responsibility I had to consider was that the following day I had promised to go to a birthday party of another friend =)

The another birthday party was greatly enjoyable, too. I only knew a few of the people at the party, but somehow all of my typical introvertedness was gone and I found myself having a lot of meaningful and interesting discussions with people I haven't met before. There was a band playing and we danced. The party was held at the friends' place which is an old school building in the countryside. So there was plenty of room to host guests. We stayed there for the night. The following day I did short massage treatments for the birthday party guests. It became a rather full day of work, but somehow it didn't leave me feeling empty nor disoriented. I felt exhausted in a good way, like one feels after physical workout. But my mind was clear, I felt being present, being myself. Probably all this partying and dancing had helped me not to slip into the dull protective social role, so that I could stay more fully present even when working a long day with massage customers.

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I've kept the the refrigerator disconnected. Because of no rain the terrain is so dry that a risk of wildfires is high. Instead of cooking by a camp-fire on the yard I've mostly used a small portable stove which burns liquid fuel. My diet has become pretty simple. Porridge. Lentils. Pasta with some fresh lovage from the garden. For a few days I didn't have customers anywhere near a supermarket, and I didn't feel like driving to the village center just to do shopping. So I thought to survive on what ever I had left in my shelf, and to buy food the next time I happen to be where the markets are.

On Saturday I went to visit Tampere, for my son graduated from University of Applied Sciences, becoming an IT engineer. There was a small nice party to celebrate his graduation. I got a message from a friend, telling that the same day there is a poetry festival at Tampere. So, after the graduation celebrations I went to the poetry festival together with my friend. (I met a lot of of other friends there, too. For this poetry festival is something which attracts people from my sphere of friends). The festival is held in the yard of a beautiful old wooden buildings (there are houses on all four sides, and a yard in the middle). The festival program also had a brief note on history - one hundred years ago it was civil war in Finland, and the city of Tampere was one of the major battlegrounds. At that time this group of buildings stood on the edge of the urban area, to the east it was open fields. So the building served as a part of the line of defence, with men armed with rifles and a machine gun. Now it was sunny and all peaceful (here in Finland. Every day we can read news on (civil) wars raging on in so many of the other countries.) The yard was full of people gathered there to enjoy poetry and music from all around Finland, and there also were a few performing poets from abroad. I especially liked Joelle Taylor from England - empowering marginalized people to find their own voices. The last group performing was a band called Faarao Pirttikangas & Kuhmalahden Nubialaiset. After the performance I went to buy some of their albums. They had an older and a newer LP, and also LPs made in collaboration with other bands. Those LPs were 15€ each, and I only had 25€. Before I asked my friend gave me 5€ so I could buy two LPs.

When I started writing this it was Monday. I realized that I had forgot to shop for food, instead using all of my money to buy music. And I was totally happy with it, listening to the vinyl playing, eating lentils boiled on a portable stove. Today it finally rained, and there was even a thunder storm rumbling by. After the thunder I went fishing for a moment, hoping to catch a little addition to my diet. No luck with the fish, but it was very refreshing to be out at the lake. Well, catching no fish also means no time spent preparing and cooking fish. So instead I sat down to write this. Now it is 1:30 in the night. It is not dark outdoors, just twilight, and soon it will be getting brighter before the sunrise. Maybe I'd better go to bed now, for tomorrow I have work at the village centre. Luckily enough, the first booked time is at noon, so I can sleep long in the morning if I feel like that.

Hulda Huima
Hulda Huima
tags: 
depression
diary
music
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