Finn Forms and Ferries

Scandinavian design.  Clean, unencumbered, inspired.

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Finland. Lovely, crisp, content.

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Dark Forest Floor

A bike tour is a slow-motion view of the big picture.  But to really explore the details, I have to get off the bike and single out my subject.  I admit that I often, though only on a lonely country road, pull my phone out of my pocket flick it on with my thumb, swipe up for the camera, point and shoot off a picture or two.  All while steering with the other hand and peeking over my shoulder at what I want to capture.

I am working my way from Turku, on the Baltic Sea in southwest Finland, through a few of the Turku Archipelago islands. The first thing I notice is the dark forest floor, surrounded by a perimeter of wildflowers in every color, shape and texture.  This is a land of trolls, fairies and elves, where strips of land jut out of the Sea, carved by glaciers.  Only their very tops are visible above the water line – a cross between Maine’s North Woods, perhaps, and the lower elevations of the Rocky Mountains.  But this is the Old Country and there is no question that these deep lush woods house mythical creatures.

Tomorrow we leave the islands.  I am sad to leave this inquiry behind.  The watery world of an archipelago, where ferries serve as bridges to keep the islands’ traffic moving mostly year-round, and local residents swell from 800 to 5,000 for a few short weeks when the weather turns to “summer.” The long days of the sun’s northernmost-most angle reaches high into our hemisphere.  Fair haired people, always friendly, go-out-of-their-way friendly.  And so hospitable, eager to share their bounty – from their sea and from their land and from their heritage. Proud to share their culture.  They know they live in a magical, protected place.

It is August and the Finns are already talking of the end of summer.  This one was cooler than usual, after a warmer than usual winter.  I get the sense that there is an uneasiness about this in their islands.  Our group of 14 explorers were lucky to have hit the first good week of weather – temperatures mild, if cooler than normal, and mostly sunny skies.  (Perfect biking weather!) From the sound of things, it may be among their last.

I wonder, where do those mythical creatures go when the weather again turns bad?