Spring [Heikki Willamo]

Staying put makes you notice slow changes. How snow melts and the pale forest floor gradually turns green. How the ice darkens and the edges of the ponds open up, how the meltwater grows around the stones in the water. When you have a base and a home, it becomes the centre of your existence and thus the focus of the whole forest. Unhurried sitting, making food, brewing coffee and sleeping with open senses brings the life that surrounds you under your skin.

The journey, less than a kilometre, from car to lean-to is like a rite of transition into forest-time. First you skirt a large stone and two ponds, then pass a low ridge and a small defile down to the sunny shore of my home pond. Always the same route beneath the great pine trees to the lean-to, which contains everything I need: cooking utensils, food, coffee, a few clothes, a mattress and a sleeping bag.

The spring days bring the forest closer and closer and regular periods of solitude become a necessity. The worries of everyday life seem to disappear as I step among the great trees. They don’t fall away at the very first footsteps, but after a couple of hours I am reasonably free. The coming of twilight and a night slept in the forest cleans the slate completely and put me on forest-time.

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