Serenity Sunday: Finnish Finery

Let’s go back to a fine day in autumn in southern Finland. I was on a work trip but I’d written up my reports on a rainy Saturday and so had this particular Sunday free to explore. I’d stayed the night in Kuopio and chose what looked like an interesting route to take in the local delights of this beautiful country that reminded me so much of Minnesota. After driving north out of Kuopio, I turned right on Highway 17 and stopped to admire this picturesque stand of white birch near the town of Toivola.

About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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16 Responses to Serenity Sunday: Finnish Finery

  1. shoreacres says:

    The birch are beautiful, particularly when combined with the bands of contrasting color. I’m curious about the name of the town: Toivala. One of my professors in graduate school was from Finland, and his name was Toivo Harjunpää. I know nothing about the Finnish language, but I can’t help wondering if there’s a connection between the place name and the personal name.

    • krikitarts says:

      I don’t think so, but Toivo is about as common a first name as John or Bill. The language is absolutely fascinating. If you are familiar with German, you can read something out loud in Finnish and your pronunciation will sound very close to correct. The double umlauted vowels are especially intriguing, as in your friend’s family name. The Finnish for “good” is “hüvää.”

    • Sartenada says:

      Hello Linda.

      I try to answer. Toivo is first name. When adding -la, means normally a place or village where lives many persons by name Toivo. My explanation is not official, but I am senior citizen who have interest in my mother tongue. I tried to find the connection between Toivo and Toivola, but I could not find. Another example is Pirkkola. Basic word is fore name Pirkko and adding -la, then Pirkkola means a place where lives many persons by name Pirkko.

      We use also ending -lä. In Helsinki we have neighborhood called Käpylä. Käpy in English means Cone. Käpylä in Swedish is Kottby. Swedish word Kott is in English Cone and by means Village. So, maybe my guess Toivola could mean a place where lives many Toivo persons.

      Finnish language is “odd” language. For example we many similar words with Japanese, but their meaning differs. Example: Finnish word Kisu means in English Kitty, but in Japanese it means Kiss. One oddity which I have find is -ko. In Finnish we use it in interrogative sentence. In Japanese they use the word ka. Ko and Ka are very similar. Sorry that I got lost on the subject. Matti.

      • krikitarts says:

        Thanks very much for this, Matti, I really appreciate it. I am a modest student of languages and find yours very fascinating, though I’ve not had as much exposure to it as I would like. I have been privileged to visit 50 countries so far, and have tried to learn as much as possible of each of the languages in the time that I had. Knowing German, yours is easy for me to pronounce when I see it written, but I have seen that it would take many dedicated years to approach a reasonable degree of mastery. I learned a few useful phrases during my brief time there, and I have a fair memory, so that they have come in handy at odd times, but I love to bring them up when I need them.

      • Sartenada says:

        Thank you. Knowing useful phrases is good start and locals love them. My wife knows German and I understand it, but not able to deep discussions in German. :)

        I am watching foreign TV-stations in Internet and listening music. Music is excellent language teacher, because words are sung slowly.

        All the best,

      • krikitarts says:

        Music is certainly the most universal of languages and often provides an excellent medium for learning about spoken language as well, as you say. I was delighted to hear people playing the kantele on a couple of occasions, and came very close to buying a Landola guitar. I have a friend who sings in a choral group in Helsinki and one of the songs on the CD that I have is an unforgettably haunting one called–if I can remember the spelling–Saerkyneille.

  2. Vicki says:

    Very attractive trees and like Linda’s comment, I like the contrasting bands of colour in the frame.

  3. I love birch and how it stands out from the crowd. I liked it so much I had to grow one in my own small back garden. The reds are rather nice in this, too.

    • krikitarts says:

      We had two triple river birch in our garden in Omaha, and they were among our favorite features of the home. We have one in our garden in Auckland, and it now has its own special place in our hearts. They are so easy to love!

  4. I like the spot you chose to stand allowing each tree to have its moment in the composition. It looks like you lined them up with a couple hidden so they wouldn’t interfere with the impression that none are touching. A very nice intimate image, Gary.

    • krikitarts says:

      I made several, from different points and with different focal lengths, and the others turned out very well too, but when I look back at them in sequence, this one (usually) speaks to me with the most fluency.

  5. Sartenada says:

    Beautiful fall photo. Thank you.

  6. Sartenada says:

    Oh, how nice that you know Kantele! I have had a possibility to hear it inside of the Church in Loviisa. Its sound is magic. I have a post about it. Here:

    Old town of Loviisa and church

    Happy new week!

    • krikitarts says:

      Thank you so much for that, Matti! I found the Kantele fascinating; it’s like a hybrid of a harp, a zither, a lyre, and a hammered dulcimer, but the strings are not color-coded (as they are on a harp). It produces a lovely, delicate, and indeed magical sound, quite similar to that of a lyre. I’d love to learn much more about it–maybe in my next life!

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