I cannot tell if it's the movie or the book, but the little unknown piece of forest we visited last weekend took me back to Haruki Murakami's Japanese forests. If you are searching for a path through frozen woods, snowy-packed branches and dreadful, mystical silence read Norwegian Wood and let your mind to the job.
If you wish to have that experience physically you must come here and drive 50 minutes to the south-east side of Rovaniemi.
Yet again it's the time of the year when the nature has given away its colors here in north. Trees are grey, roads are grey and sadly enough the sky has been grey. But. Unlike on the previous years, I don't feel that loss of energy that I've used to feel. November doesn't scare me at all, everything is somehow calm and peaceful. Maybe I've spent enough time in forests, and maybe that's why this little beautiful forest arose the memories back from Norwegian Wood. To me Haruki Murakami works as a guide through some of life's darkest and dangerous territories without being depressing; his books always deal with death and anxiety, but also with unexpected outcomes that life gives to everybody. Landscapes work as a metaphor to all this: what else do cold and white winter woods symbolise than death and end of an era?
This little mystery place belongs to Kaihuanvaara-Kivalot hiking area near Vanttauskoski. It's approximately two kilometres long and easy trail that goes through twenty different forest types. Its name's literal translation would go something like "The Wood Species Path of Siberia" (Siperian puulajipolku) and it's there to show and to test foreign wood species in Lapland. It's a rare test area aiming to find new wood species suitable for our northern forests, and the first sample-forests are planted back in 1930's.
If you ask me, I'd like so see more of those yellow larches in our forests just to make make them shimmer this time of the year. Although larches are conifers, they lose their leaves in the autumn, but some of the needles were still there glowing to us. Beautiful.
It was only a rather quick visit, but it was enough to take me to a distant place far away from daily routines. Weirdly enough I felt very zen and decided that if I ever go to Japan, it's because of their forests.
Suom: Viikonlopun zenit löytyi Vanttauskosken eteläpuolelta Siperian puulajipolulta. Eipä olis uskonut. Jos menet paikalle, ota eväät mukaan. Parkkiksen vieressä on päivätupa. Ajo-ohjeet löytyvät täältä.