Unlike Austria, Switzerland or even Norway, Finland is not known for its mountains. We do still have our fair share or hills, which play home to numerous ski resorts, big and small. I grew up 20 kilometers from a decent sized ski resort (on a Finland scale) and when I retired from the great sport of hockey (at least momentarily) around the age of 14, I switched to skiing. I mostly hung out with friends who were snowboarders and rather good at actually doing some tricks on the slopes. Now, I myself, have never been a dare devil, nor acrobatically gifted, for that matter, thus for me it was more natural to pick up a camera and start filming my friends. I used to film a lot, doing seasonal edits of the shenanigans that we did on and off the slopes with our friends. However, as I moved to Helsinki in 2009, I moved further away also from my friends and our home resort. I did still film our trips to lapland, but the amounts of moments caught on tape decreased steadily. I do still film snowboarding now and again, but I’ve really developed an interest for still photography, which is why I really enjoyed skiing with my friends this weekend, when visiting home, because I had the chance to also take a few spring pictures on the slopes. Mothernature treated us like royalty and the weather couldn’t have been better. The sun was shining, it was warm and this all was topped up with a few cold ones and a bonfire break here and there to roast a few sausages – it was great! My camera enjoyed the weather as well and I was able to grab a few nice pics (see below). Seeing that I nowadays mostly take pictures in a city setup, it was awesome to have the chance to take pictures with a snowy hill in the background – not to mention being able to spend the rare quality time with my old friends and enjoy a day at the resort, just like old times.
This post was due already a couple a weeks ago, but because of technical difficulties, a lengthy post that I wrote on a cold October night never saw the light of day i.e. never made its way onto the world wide web. Sometimes my life feels rather hectic, even though when observing from a far, it isn’t, perhaps it is just my own mind that makes everything so difficult and complicated in my small world, but at times I feel that I need to unwind.
I often clear my head by going for long walks during chilly autumn nights, thinking about the past, present and future. One evening as I headed out, a scarf around my neck, a beanie on my head and a camera in my hand, I reminisced about a lot of things as I took deep breaths of the fresh air outside. It’s funny how climate can bring to our mind our own past sometimes, as if those things had happened just yesterday.
As I walked in my local park, that had gone silent for the winter, inhabited now only by small bunnies running mindlessly through the leaf covered scene, I remembered how I always linked autumn to anticipating something. I remember how as a small kid I waited eagerly for the leaves to fall and the colder weathers to come, because with cold weather came ice and with ice came ice hockey. Even though I have had periods in my life when hockey hasn’t been that important, as a kid it was. Partly because that was where all of your friends also were, on the ice. Only now as I’m a bit older I’ve noticed that in fact my oldest and most trustworthy friends were indeed my line mates as I was 6 or 7. Some of my friends continued to play hockey, I didn’t, I moved onto skiing, downhill that is.
When I started to ski and film my friends for snowboard videos and stuff (LINK), I got into new fun circles for which I am to this day still damn grateful. Every autumn as the weather started to get colder, we watched ,nearly non-stop, the webcam of our local ski center, to see if the snow-cannons had started to paint the slopes white, and when they did start to cover the hill with what was more Ice than snow, we headed to the center to film something. Waiting for the ski season to start was for a long time a part of my autumn, but that changed once I moved to Helsinki, and especially now that I live in Berlin.
Sure,I could have continued to ski in Helsinki, but it would’ve been way too much of a hassle to travel to the nearby towns, with public transport, not to mention not having the familiar faces of my “crew” there. As if by accident my road started to lead back to my former hobby, although this time to the rafters. A good friend of mine started to lure me into going to see the hockey matches in Helsinki, needless to say it didn’t take long for me to be hooked again to ice hockey. As the hockey season starts usually around September, this “spectator sport” started to be the new thing that I awaited to begin during autumns, we even went to see my team’s (IFK Helsinki) training matches in August, because at times it felt that the season couldn’t come quick enough. Needless to say, I haven’t been to IFK’s games in a while having moved to Berlin.
I have tried to follow both my team’s games and the local Berlin team’s games here, but it hasn’t felt the same. I do still watch the Finnish league (and the NHL , if they didn’t have a lockout season), but nowadays I’ve noticed I enjoy spending a lot of time with my camera. Even on that cold October night, as I was kicking the maple leaf piles with my feet in the empty park, I had my Sony with me. I perhaps lacked the anticipation of something “seasonal” but I have a continuous hobby now, which is surprisingly chill and allows me to clear my head as well. Dwelling through the park, snapping photos and enjoying the lack of noises is just bliss at times. That night I spent a good few hours walking around, stopping now and again to sit on a bench to observe the wild life that had still stayed in the park for the upcoming winter.
I believe Nietzsche once said ” All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking” and I do believe he is on to something there, since at least for me, when I walk alone in the evenings I am able to clear my head of the less useful thoughts and focus on the good ones, which is something that for me is hard to do at times when surrounded by people. I might have walked out that night out of the door, with a big stressful mess of different thoughts, but returned with a much calmer mind and even a couple of nice photos, all thanks to a “sleeping” park and a late evening walk. I also know now that I do not need to have anything to anticipate during the autumn anymore, sure skiing would be fun, but in the end, taking pictures or writing nonsense isn’t a bad hobby either, and you can do it anytime of the year.