Recently I visited the valleys of two of the northernmost rivers in Finland: Utsjoki and Teno. As on previous occasions, I became enchanted by majestic beauty of these lesser known and definitely remote landscapes.
Nature rarely does straight, but in these valleys everything is curved: the wide rivers, their sand banks and the surrounding, softly rounded mountains that continue layer after layer into seeming endlessness. Ones view can get lost in these rolling shapes and only the constantly changing light checkers and structures the landscape. A mountain that one moment was looming dark above, suddenly catches light and starts to glow in autumn colours of yellow and red only to fade again into grey a few moments later.
I don’t know, why there my soul starts to softly tremble. True enough, I was born among the hills and on the banks of a river. But, maybe, there is an even deeper connection here. Haven’t in pre-historic times humans colonised Central Europe through its river valleys and settled among the hills surrounding the Danube river? Maybe there is something about such landscapes that promises a home to humans. A place to fish and hunt, a place that gives shelter from cold winds and provides drinking water throughout the year.
Whatever the reasons might be. The weary soul finds rest there on the bank of the river with its endless sound of time. Looking out from an elevated point I often thought that the mountains look like waves on an ocean which in the shifting light appear and disappear and seem strangely alive. It is in these moments I deeply understand how the crust of the earth is a living and moveable thing and that in nature all formation is unified and alike in a certain rhythm.
And can one not compare our lives to waves? Waves that raise in our youth to softly ebb away in age. And whatever small eddies, currents, distractions and hindrances there might be: allowed its natural course the wave will forcefully roll through time and then slowly ebb away to again merge with the ocean of human hope, aspiration and longing for meaning. How fleeting, how fragile, how ephemeral our lives appear in light of these seemingly eternal mountains. And still, both are part of an endless flow and I cannot help but marvel at these wonders. In the back of my mind a tiny voice tells me that maybe, just maybe all this longing for meaning is meaningless and what I am supposed to do is to just let my heart flow among the mountains and the river. And thus the soul catches a ray of light and starts to glow.