My walking today on the way to Tammimäki is through a blue sea-sky continuum along the newly raked gravel paths that remind me of that luxurious austerity of some Japanese gardens; but these are for walking on, not just the eyes. The blue is brilliant and though it's full morning, the sun low. Only the belt of trees, their green, breaks up this shining blue.
Overhead fly Canada geese in dozens, their shadows across the gravel and shadows passing quickly up the lit birches. They fly lower and heavier than greylags, their carolling lighter. Memory of place is strong in us all, even when we're passing through, like the geese and me. My walking today is through the places of revealed dreamscape: the small and intimate map made step by step, reading land. I name the places and they exist for my next walk. The place of adders; the bay of the boat-house; the inlet of the blue wooden boat; the apple tree of wasps. Though here all are wasp-ridden, the insects drunk on fermenting juice; but it's at this tree I was stung - picking windfall apples with wasps inside. Our storytelling moves across the land and is a record.
Winter is the stalker in the woods. It's behind the intoxicated wasps, the chittering squirrels laying up stores and the yodels of Canada geese, but summer will not yet yield: its last movement still to be played. A single cormorant flies into the bay from the expanse of the Baltic sea. Jays work the acorns before they tumble to the woodland floor.
This place is called Saari - the Finnish word for island. As well as saari, there are placenames for skerries, rocks, points and sounds all now inland along the Gulf of Bothnia. Oulunsalo (island of Oulujoki) is a peninsula. Turning north and facing the maples on the rise I see quite clearly where the island would have been a thousand years ago, before post-glacial rebound forced the sea to walk from here. I'm strolling on old seabed. Fertile farmland supporting many head of cattle and growing silage and sugar beet.
That long view, were we able to take it, would be the proving of the fact that these oak trees of Tammimäki also walk. Generation on generation, moving out from the parent tree; that oldster dying, leaving this new generation to march outward, until checked, when the trees move back inwards, rippling the years, walking always: slowly walking. A walk of centuries in one place.
On my own daylong flickering ephemeral walk I fill a pocket with rosehips like nipples; I fill my red-spotted handkerchief with puffballs; I carry some stems of yarrow and their pure white flowerheads. These things flame into life and burn out in their walk of shorter days than mine.
The rose hips are for their redness, the puffballs for the skillet, the yarrow for a posy in the jamjar on my desk. I invent these things afresh as stories in my walking, in my memory of place.