a rusty beginning

Happy New Year, everybody! I hope the beginning of the year has been good for you and that the remainder will be even better.

It’s been a while since I last posted, but I finally got around to it. As I ended last year with images of youth, growth and excitement, I thought that it would be appropriate to begin this year with tranquil ageing. There’s beauty in that, too!

Rust is corrosion of iron and will always happen as long as there is oxygen and water around. Given enough time, the rusting will lead to the iron disintegrating. It’s a well-known phenomenon, and to me, one of the most beautiful forms of decay. I hope you enjoy the photos!

(I also just added a few more poems to this blog, so if you have an interest in such silliness, go have a look!)

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Rust and ivy (Hedera maroccana).

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maya & ava – the joys of summer

It’s winter and the year is getting very old… So why not have a bit of a throw-back to summer and children?

Let’s be honest: I’ve never really had a great interest in children. To me, some of them seem decent and okay to be around, some are even a bit funny, and some, to be honest, mostly seem annoying. Luckily they have parents who have little choice but to love them (and yes, yes, I’m sure they’re lovely at other times). I have to admit, though, than since my childhood friends started having kids of their own, my attitude has slowly started changing. Because honestly, when the annoying little brats are perfect little copies of your best friends at the time when you were reveling in the fact that the world revolved around you and your fantasy worlds, how can you resist? At that point it’s hard not to give in a bit and say, okay kids, I won’t judge you too harshly. Also, you have to, because you start realizing what a horrible child you (and your friends…) were.

So in August, when my friend asked if I could come and take some photos of her two children, I said ‘Of course!’. It was a beautiful summer day, and my friend had just moved back to the village where we spent our childhood. I won’t go into much detail concerning the photo session – I’ll let the photos speak for themselves – but two kids have rarely made me feel so welcome. I guess that it may, perhaps, also have a little bit to do with attitude.

I hope I managed to capture some of the happiness, wildness and friendliness of these wonderful kids, and share it with you. Enjoy!

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Back yard angel.

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white and blue and everything else

It’s Finland’s 98th independence day today. I miss the good things, and they are many; I miss the familiar things, some of which are good. Many of the things I miss are much older than 98 years – the archipelago, the seasons, the sauna, the languages; the people I miss are all younger. My heart is a travelling heart, but it was created and grew in an atmosphere of fresh air, friendship, comfortable silence, and tolerance. For that, I am grateful.

They say that the colours of Finland are white and blue, but to me, they are a rainbow.

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The home-made, traditional red paint.

Click for the whole rainbow!

gliding through the blue

It’s easily one of the best feelings in the world: kayaking. No matter if it’s on a calm and sunny summer’s day, a rainy day in early autumn or a cool and windy spring day, the kayak feels like an extension of my own body and brings such tranquility and complete focus to the moment at hand. It may sound like I’m becoming spiritual, but it’s actually the opposite (what that means is a good question). During the latest kayaking trip, which took place this August, I wrote about the physical sensation of kayaking in my journal: “today, all that exists is what my body perceives”.

My friend and I always plan to go on annual kayaking expeditions. For one reason or another, they turn out to be biennial instead: I’ve made posts about some of them before. This year, we managed to squeeze one in between some of my other journeys around the world, and I’m endlessly happy that we did! We stayed relatively close to home (if we forget the fact that we were kayaking in western Finland and I live in Morocco), which is never the boring alternative, for several reasons. First of all, you see the familiar in a completely new way if you’re kayaking. Second of all, this area is known for its endless number of underwater rocks, so there’s never time to get bored!

Most of my photos made during this trip were taken in the mornings, evenings or during lunch breaks, since I preferred not to keep my camera out while kayaking. I really should get a pocket camera for occasions like this… But that’s beside the point. Even if I won’t be able to communicate the joys of the physical act of kayaking through my photos, I think it’s worth sharing some photos anyway. Because honestly, the small islands and headlands of the archipelago are such treasure troves, even when they’re close to home.

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The view from a small island (where we slept) on our first evening. The world almost seemed to say, ‘Welcome’.

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the magnificent mountains of morocco

Since it’s exactly two years today since I moved to Morocco with my partner and our cat, I thought I’d share one of my favourite parts of this country with you: the mountains! There are two mountain ranges that stretch through Morocco: the Atlas and the Rif. The highest mountain in North Africa, Jbel Toubkal, is situated in southwestern Morocco and its highest peak is 4,167 metres above sea level (13,671 feet). I haven’t yet visited that particular mountain, but I intend to!

The Moroccan mountains are home to many endemic species (that is, species that only occur in a specific region), such as the Atlas cedar, the Atlas mountain viper and the Barbary macaque (that I made a post about before I even moved here). To me, the mountains add yet another stunning natural habitat to this country of extremes. To the west, we have the long coast with the Atlantic, always humid and often fertile; further east, going from north-east to south-west, there are mountains covered in snow and coniferous forest; and along the eastern border, the great, ever-expanding Sahara desert, the world’s largest. There’s certainly something for everyone.

So here’s my photographic ode to this country where I’m happy to say that I have found yet another home:

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Crossing the High Atlas, one of the three sub-ranges in the Moroccan Atlas mountains.

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tactile & tantalizing

Have you ever seen a photograph that has not only brought back memories of a summer forest after rain, but actually made you smell it? Or one that, like a large seashell, has brought the sound of the ocean to your ear; or one that has made your mouth water? When a picture gives me that experience, I almost feel like it surpasses its task as a photograph. What fantastic things our brains can do! Not only are we able to translate a two-dimensional photograph into a  three-dimensional scene, face, detail full of depth and colour, but at times, we can even experience things through our other senses, without any input. It always impresses and surprises me.

Because I like impressing myself, I sometimes try to do exactly that: evoke a non-visual sensation through a picture. In this post, I’ve gathered a few photos which awaken my sense of touch – images that tickle my fingertips. Let’s see if it works for you, too!

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Wet sand on a beach in Essaouira, Morocco. Imagine burying your hand into the coldness of it…

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between continents

Sometimes small (in relative terms), seemingly insignificant geological formations can have a surprisingly significant impact on human history and life. That was what I was thinking about when I got onto the ferry to cross from Tangier (Morocco) to Tarifa (Spain) to take the short journey across the Strait of Gibraltar.

This strait separates Morocco from Spain and connects the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The narrowest point is 14 kilometers wide and the depth ranges from 300 to 900 meters. It has played the opposite roles of an easy bridge from Europe to Africa (or the other way around) and a formidable wall between continents and empires. Already the fact that there are areas on both sides of the strait that belong to other countries than those that “actually” are there – Gibraltar (a part of the UK on the Spanish side) and Ceuta (a part of Spain on the Moroccan side) – suggests that it’s a very important place.

But enough of that.

Ferries between Morocco and Spain don’t take the shortest 14 kilometer route, but it’s still quite a short journey. We had beautiful, clear weather when we crossed and when you’re in the middle between continents, it’s quite an impressive sight: there’s the huge African continent on one side, and Eurasia on the other.

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Spain (and Jesus) on the left, Africa on the right, the Mediterranean straight ahead.

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