Fauna as environmental heritage of the Baltic Sea

Welcome to the new school year everyone. We continue to feature entries from the SeaHer Photo Competition. Enjoy!

One of the most important elements of the ecological heritage of the Baltic Sea is its fauna. Over the years, the number of seabirds on the coast has been decreasing, but steadily increasing in cities that are further from the sea. The fact is that now it is much easier for them to find food in numerous garbage containers than to work hard and catch fish in the sea. The constantly increasing amount of garbage produced by all of us can change and is already significantly changing the ecology of entire regions. And there are not enough efforts of states in the field of waste processing. All of us should feel responsible from the moment of purchasing the goods to sending them to the container. After all, carelessly leaving garbage, even for a couple of hours while waiting for transportation, can attract wild animals and birds from their natural habitat to places of waste accumulation as to an open counter with food. Subsequently, all this can be the reason that our beloved sea will become dead and lifeless, like some sandy deserts. The Baltic is much more than just a beautiful view and a nice beach – it is also home to millions of living creatures that depend on you and me.

Hope for a cleaner future for the Baltic Sea-Saara Ilvessalo

Welcome back to work and school for those who are back! We continue to feature submissions from the photo competition. Today we feature a submission full of hope for the Baltic Sea from Saara Ilvessalo, whom many will recognise as a passionate advocate for the Baltic Sea. Saara is the Coordinator for Baltic Area Legal Studies BALEX, University Teacher in Law at Åbo Akademi University and a member of Turku City Council.  Enjoy!

The triumphant return of the Eagles

My family has a summer cottage in the archipelago of Southwestern Finland. I have spent a lot of time there, both in my childhood and as an adult, and the Baltic Sea has a special place in my heart. I remember laying on the quay and looking down through the clean water to the bottom of the sea when I was young. Now, because of local projects affecting the sea, I only see mud and algae. However, it is comforting to know that the emissions to the Baltic Sea have halved from the worst years, although it still is not enough. It always feels like a wake-up call to see the changes at the cottage island compared to the times I was a child.

For me, the Baltic Sea is something that gives me inner peace and well-being. The archipelago is the place for me to unwind, forget hurry worries and connect with nature. I couldn’t imagine living somewhere with no shores. The Baltic Sea is a re-source for human beings, both concretely and mentally, and also something we must protect. I am an optimist when it comes to the protection of the Baltic Sea. Humans have polluted it, so it is also possible for humans to clean it – but the time is running out.

The victories of history give hope. In 1975, four sea eagle nestlings hatched in Finland. After the ban on environmental toxins, the population began to grow. In 2019, 558 eagles hatched. Four eagles were flying in my background as this picture was taken, and it was another kind of a wake-up call to realize that times have changed for the better for sea eagles. That gave me hope about a cleaner future for the Baltic Sea and us humans who find it dear, too.

The Many sides of the Baltic Sea-from Nagu Finland

We continue our feature of submissions from the SeaHer photo competition. Today we feature the voice of someone who is not native to the area, but feels at home with the Baltic Sea. Here we see the Baltic Sea as inviting newcomers to experience its many sides as they experience a life that is perhaps different to what they are most familiar with. Enjoy!

The Baltic Sea as seen from the beach at Nagu, Finland

I have been in various countries in Europe, Asia and even Africa. I saw different sea lands around the world, but I never thought I would go up to the extreme north and live near to the Baltic Sea, which was completely unknown to me before I moved to Turku more than two years ago. To be honest, I did not expect it to be that special and charming. I thought it is just a freezing sea where Nordic people do fishing in summer with no life in other seasons.

A day after day I realized it is full of life, not only because it is a source of many activities, but because it is a big source for environmental research and economic development in the Nordic region more than I ever thought. I believe working on the environmental research related to this sea is very essential and prestigious, especially in this part of the world, which always puts the environment first and do what it takes to reduce the wastes and pollution.

Group trips along the Baltic Sea with family and friends are also something I enjoyed a lot in the past 2 years. I also had some cruise trips along this Sea. Going up the ship and watching the view from the top in sunny days was a great experience that I want to repeat many times. I cannot wait to see more views of this sea as I only saw it from the Finnish, Danish, Germen and Swedish sides. I hope to visit Latvia, Lithuania and Poland soon and see it from there as it honestly looks different from each side. I still do not know the reason of this but maybe that is what makes it special. We all need to do our best to protect it from the effects of environmental and climate changes and one thing we can do is to gain more knowledge about it.

Our Lithuanian Sea Coast

We continue our summer series of entries from the SeaHer photo competition. Today we feature a submission from Lithuania. Enjoy!

Our Lithuanian Sea Coast

Our Lithuanian seacoast is short and quite bare with beautiful fine

sand. But we have one spot with few bigger boulders which attract local

photographers during sunset time. This place is usually not so crowded

due stony bottom in swimming season. I like to go to this the stony

beach take off shoes and go with tripod and camera into the water.

These boulders with a nice sky become artistically. My photo is a

illustration of this ‘magic’ spot of our Baltic coast.

The Sea and Me

During the summer months, we will be featuring guest posts based on submissions to the SeaHer photo competition. Now we feature the resonating poem by Elina Uusitalo, who hails from a small village near the beautiful Pori, Finland. Her poem is entitled ‘The Sea and Me’.  Here’s hoping as Elina so eloquently writes, ‘that the cackle of …geese gets a smile on your lips’. Happy summer from the SeaHer team!

Elina’s story with the Sea continues after the poem. Enjoy!


The Sea and Me-Elina Uusitalo


My seascape,

I am calm in front of the endless tranquility.

The sound of crackling ice under my feet are warning,

“don’t you girl come, wait, wait”, gently.


The sea speaks in a deep voice to my sad soul.


until I get opened again and finally we can touch each



until my glory is revealed under this thick ice.


when the cackle of spring geese gets a smile on your lips.


And you notice a miracle,

how bright green leaves are making a delicate weave

to the twisted trees of my shores.



Soon we can breathe each other

and then we rush out to the summer surges.


My small wooden boat is waltzing on the waves.

The tarred boat pushes firmly forward,

like dodging the biggest foamy wave crests.


The Sea and Me.

Now, in this moment, so grateful.


In this little fishing harbor, here I can feel my roots,

my heritage.

In this seascape, all my memories,

into the arms of the sea.


The icy breeze from the bay, salty wind caresses my face,

like no man ever will.

Suddenly, dark blur inside of me.

What now?

How do we survive?

I ask fearfully.

And what about me?

In these reefs of my life?


I let my boat brightly prance on your waves.

On my way to homeport, majestics sea eagles are guiding me.


Still the sadness strangles my throat,

are you going to survive?


And the Sea answers fatherly,

“Girl, don’t worry, no distress, it’s only now,

we are present in this moment, now and forever”.


I’m so sorry,

from the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry,

for me and entire humankind.

I apologize humbly.


Forgive me,

I have behaved ungratefully and disrespectfully.


The Sea is calming me down peacefully,


“Girl, girl, wait,

be patient for a little while.

Soon we’ll meet again, in the embrace of spring.”


The Sea and Me.


About Elina Uusitalo and her relationship to the Baltic Sea – in her words

This is a story about the sea and me. I am from a small village near Pori, so the seafront is familiar to me. In addition to my work, I have studied at the University of Turku in Cultural Production and Landscape Studies, which has been an exciting period in my life. And now at this moment, I’m thinking about my master’s thesis on cultural relationships with the sea.

Why does the sea and maritime culture still touch people’s hearts? This thought I wondered, as I walked along the slippery path towards my little home village, where my childhood seascape lays in the bay. Suddenly, I had to sniff the salty air and think about, what my own relationship is with the sea. And how is maritime culture still influencing the daily lives of the villagers, or is it?

In this story of the Sea and Me having a conversation, I have described a sea story in creative writing means, which is to me a new and exhilarating way to observe the relationship between the nature and me. In my mind, I have more questions than answers related to maritime culture, but in my private walks, these questions are sometimes answered. The story is a description of the relationship between the sea and me, in which I express my feelings to the sea through my thoughts, emanating from my heart. In this work I cooperated with my dear friend, who has taken these magnificent photos. He didn’t want his name in public, so I wrote the story and he encouraged me to participate in this competition. The photos are taken from the cliffs of Kallo, in the city of Pori, when the Tapani-storm was raging at the sea, in the year 2011. I’m thankful for this opportunity to my friend for using these photos and also grateful for his endless patience with me, while he taught me about the secrets of photography.

I hope that with this story and these powerful photos, I can offer you a glimpse of my cultural maritime landscape.

Call for papers_Understanding environmental change: Creating integrated knowledge of the Seas of Norden and Arctic

Editors: Savitri Jetoo, Silja Laine, Jaana Kouri and Anna Törnroos-Remes

The current global environmental crisis can be traced to the relationship of humans with the environment. Problems such as land use changes, overfishing and eutrophication are further compounded by the effects of climate change. The sea and coastal areas are especially vulnerable to these stressors, which can be characterized as wicked problems. These wicked problems facing the seas of Norden and the Arctic, that is the Norwegian, Barents, Greenland and Iceland Seas as well as the Baltic and North Seas togheter with the ocean areas connecting them, invite conflicting stakeholder values due to incomplete or seemingly contradictory knowledge. This makes it important, for example, to integrate local and experience based knowledge with scientific knowledge but the question remains how to do this. The problems facing these sea areas are multidimensional and as such, there is an urgent need for interdisciplinary study that pools knowledge sources. The wicked problems have ecological, social and cultural dimensions. For instance, human perceptions and interaction with the sea environment have affected and are behind the current marine crisis, which is a result of culture and cultural perceptions. This crisis is global, but we are looking especially at how it has taken shape along the coasts and seas of Norden and the Arctic region.

We are looking to gather an anthology, which has the objective to make room for cross- and interdisciplinary dialogues among researchers oriented to marine issues. The volume focuses on the production, interaction, and circulation of knowledge regarding open sea, archipelago and coastal areas. In this project we see research integration as the means of synthesizing different knowledge from various disciplinary and stakeholders’ viewpoints to examine the issues facing these seas in the Northern hemisphere. In addition to results or case studies produced through such dialogues, the ways disciplines have worked to integrate knowledge and methodologies are specifically of interest. How can integrated knowledge from different research perspectives contribute to greater understanding of the seas of Norden and the Arctic and their coastal and marine environments? We see that the interdisciplinary collaboration between different disciplines is necessary to answer for the present environmental catastrophe, like climate change and biodiversity loss.

The focus of the volume is to identify, produce and contribute to the recognition and dialogue of the different kinds of knowledge, methods and methodologies on scientific communities that are relevant in various situations and networks of actors during environmental changes. We are particularly interested in successful outcomes/ways/examples of conducting integrated knowledge, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. The abstract may also be an offer to collaborate with other researchers on the subject matter of the author’s own research. We look forward to receiving contributions from all disciplines including natural, educational, environmental, humanistic, legal and social sciences.

We invite both empirical and conceptual papers on the following or other relevant thematic areas:

Experience based, local environmental knowledge and scientific knowledge

Heritage and change

Environment, biodiversity, and ecosystems

Resilience and sustainability

Ecosystem functioning and management

Relationships and connections

Risks and threats

Agency and networks/webs

Time and place

Scientific and vernacular language(s)

Theoretical constructs and concepts

If you are interested in contributing a chapter, please submit a 400-500 word abstract by the 11th of August, 2021 to email: Writing and interactions are supported by a workshop on September 2, 2021, to which the selected authors are invited. For any questions, please contact: and/or

We aim to publish this anthology with an established international publisher such as Routledge.

Write us about the archipelago – Kirjoita meille saaristosta – Skrev oss om skärgården!

Observations and memories of the archipelago, the Baltic Sea and its shores
Look back and write, let your thought take off. What do you see, hear, smell? What happens next, or what no longer exists? How does that make you feel?

Write to us: Kirjoita saaristosta!
The link is free to spread!

Havaintoja ja muistoja saaristosta, mereltä ja sen rannoilta
Muistele ja kirjoita, anna ajatuksen lähteä kulkemaan. Mitä näet, kuulet, haistat? Mitä tapahtuu nyt ja mitä ei enää ole? Miltä tämä sinusta tuntuu?

Kirjoita meille osoitteessa: Kirjoita saaristosta!

Linkkiä saa vapaasti levittää. Kiitos!

Observationer och minnen av skärgården, från havet och dess stränder
Kom ihåg och skriv, låt tankarna vandra iväg. Vad ser, hör, luktar du? Vad händer nu och vad finns inte längre?  Hur känns det här för dig?

Skriv till oss: Kirjoita saaristosta!
Länken är fri att sprida!


The ‘SeaHer’ Photo Competition Winners:The Judging Process and the Winning Submissions

Early this year, our SeaHer-project advertised a photo and text competition aimed at getting people to send us a photo and supporting text, with the theme of environmental heritage related to the Baltic Sea. We received a total of twenty three entries, from contestants with a wide range of ages including the winners ages 27 and 66 years old. Contestants hailed from all around the Baltic Sea, including Latvia, Russia, Lithuania, Sweden and Finland . These entries were coded for anonymity by one of the project competition organizers, Savitri Jetoo, who was the only one who knew the names and unique identifier of each entry. This meant that for the objectivity of the judging process, she was not one of the judges. All the judges did not know any personal detail of the competition entrants but only a coded identifier. The judging panel consisted of other SeaHer project team members (Jaana Kouri, project researcher, Nina Tynkknen, the leader of the SeaHer project, Silja Laine, the project researcher) and Niclas Rantala, the photographer and researcher. Their job seemed simple enough, to  select the winning photos and texts. The coded photos and text were with this judging panel for a period of one and a half months, which gave them time to study the entries and form their initial impressions before they met.

When meeting, the panel first discussed the principles for choosing the winning photos. It was considered an important criterion that the proposal responded in some way to the ideas expressed by the announcement, i.e. what environmental heritage means to the entries themselves. Secondly, the announcement of the competition also emphasized the changes in the Baltic Sea. Additionally, the photo was to be taken by the participant him/herself.Due to the participation of the contest with the photo and the text, the panel decided to evaluate the photo and text together. Primarily, the winner was sought from among the photos and then assessed how the text complemented the image. Photographic features such as composition were also discussed.

These criteria alone did not give the chance to win the pad, and the individual winner images did not have all these features. All the judges had their own nomination for the winner. But the final decision was unanimous, albeit the result of compromises. This compromise was due to the high quality entries and we would like to thank all the applicants to this competition for sharing your story of the Baltic Sea with us through your text and photos.

As winners, we selected the following images and their text, which are below with the reasoning written by the panel.

Photo and text I: Misty future with algae

The Vistula (Kaliningrad) Lagoon is a shallow lagoon separated from the Baltic Sea by a sand spit. Communication with the sea is carried out through the only narrow strait – the Strait of Baltiysk. The aquatic ecosystem of this reservoir is unusual. It is simultaneously influenced by the brackish waters of the Baltic Sea and the fresh waters of rivers flowing into the lagoon, primarily the Pregolya River. For this reason, depending on the direction and intensity of the winds, either the influence of fresh waters entering the lagoon together with the river runoff, or the influence of sea waters, which causes significant changes in salinity, may prevail at different times. This feature determines the high biological diversity of aquatic organisms (organisms that live in water). For example, here you can find typical marine inhabitants such as cod, mussels and sea acorns (balanus), and at the same time freshwater organisms: pike perch, bream, pondweed, pearl shells. Along with freshwater and marine species, there are organisms that thrive both in fresh water and in the coastal waters of the brackish Baltic, for example, the zebra mussel, and the small stickleback fish. The rich and varied underwater world of the Vistula (Kaliningrad) Lagoon has the same problems as the entire Baltic Sea. Along with the penetration of invasive species into the aquatic ecosystem of the lagoon, that changes the existing relationships between aquatic inhabitants, the most significant problem is anthropogenic eutrophication. The active development of agriculture (fertilization, cattle grazing) in the catchment area, pollution of rivers with municipal and industrial wastewater – all this leads to an excess flow of nutrients into the lagoon. The most significant in this case is the intake of various compounds of nitrogen and phosphorus. Compounds of nitrogen and phosphorus act as fertilizers for planktonic microalgae, in the warm season they give a strong outbreak of numbers, called the term “algal bloom”. The manifestation of such blooming can be seen in the presented photograph, it looks like long stripes of various shades of green. Flowering begins first in small bays protected from the wind, and with a further increase in water temperature, it can spread to the entire area of the reservoir. The most dangerous are blue-green algae. They are capable of poisoning water and other aquatic organisms with toxins during mass development. And in case of mass dying off, decomposing they contribute to the absorption of dissolved oxygen from water, causing its deficiency. Reducing the anthropogenic input of nitrogen and phosphorus into water bodies is an urgent task of our time. A dying body of water is not only a problem for fish, but also for public health, economic and social development. And the solution to this problem cannot be postponed, it must be solved during the lifetime of the present generation.

The panel’s reasonings for selection: Photo and text I

The image is visually impressive and beautiful. This is an image that one can get lost in. There are many layers of detail even though the picture was taken in a misty landscape. The misty connects water and sky, water is everywhere. The colors chord nicely with each other. The green mass of the algae leads the observer nicely into the picture and the wooden structure and its reflection looks like a soundwave, a message perhaps? The fiery landscape picture and the algae of the foreground create a fine contrast. The composition of the photograph is good.

The image depicts the environmental history of the Baltic Sea, e.g. pollution and awareness that there are a lot of dumped /forgotten things under water. It is a problem man have to solve before reaching the possible future. The island that is obscured by the mist gives a sense of mystery and not knowing what the future holds. At the same time, it is as if the time is stopped, stagnated, in the photo.

The image and text are complementary. Although the image is timeless, the text is strongly in the present describing the local conditions of the Vistula lagoon as part of the Baltic Sea and its fauna.

The romantic, misty landscape and the green stripe of algae on the foreground create an impressive contrast. The picture refers to the duality of the cultural heritage of the Baltic Sea environment. Alongside the admiration for landscape, nature, and art related to it, runs climate and environmental change and the history that has enabled it. Even the green stripe is beautiful. Thus, the image raises ethical questions about beautiful landscapes: are we allowed to enjoy a landscape stained by algae?

The photo and text II: Rubbish at the shore

The outermost islands of the Archipelago Sea that I love very much are polluted by plastic and other trash from all over the world. My eyes opened to this situation not until a few years ago – before that, I was just kicking plastic bottles lying on strands, maybe picking up some interesting item and then throwing it back. When I finally saw what the situation is, it was time to begin collecting trash from these desolate places during late summer when the nesting time of sea birds was over. There are very few people visiting these places (which is as such good for the sensitive nature), so PET bottles, plastic wraps, plastic bags, pieces of ropes and so on can accumulate on the shorelines over a long time, gradually disintegrating into microplastics if no one picks up them. I’ve also found various sorts of pill boxes, medical equipment, rusty oil barrels, refrigerators, and a TV set, all washed ashore. In an attempt to probe this further and to raise awareness of the situation, I’ve started an Instragram account with photos on plastic items for which the land of origin can be identified. Naturally enough, these are mostly from the nations sharing the Baltic shoreline, but there is also quite a few things from far-way places, probably thrown to the sea from visiting freight ships. The photo shows a catch from one of the outermost small islands. This is luckily enough a small catch, but there are many places that look much worse. Not all is just sad trash here – when you look closely, you see that there is a message in a bottle…

The panel’s reasonings for selection: Photo and text II

This image depicts the active role of the human being in both trashing and cleaning the sea. The text and the image complement each other well. The story and image tell about the personal relationship with the sea. In the image there are many levels: a rugged, rocky island, colourful culture products of man, and a misty horizon. The editing of the photo is excellent.

The image represents the tradition of everyday photography, whose purpose is not so much to aesthetize the landscape as it is to document and record the everyday life and surroundings. It invites the viewer to focus on the details of plastic debris found on the shore, and ponder how carelessly people treat their belongings. How can someone lose a sandal? What happened?

The image reminds us that taking care and picking up the plastic garbage is something that many people do when spending time by the sea. In doing so, it points to the future by raising the question about what happens next. Who will pick up the garbage from the sea? Who will take it away? Where will it go from here?

The image also serves as a reminder that being by the sea often involves just collecting garbage. It is the cultural heritage of the modern era that we are transmitting into the future. The picture also hints at the future, as it raises the concrete question of what happens next to the garbage. One of the bottles seems to contain a letter. It’s a message from the past to the future, hopefully full of hope. It is referring to the writer’s responsible acts of collecting trash.

There is a looming of an island on the horizon, or as a mirror image of the island on the front, and that could be thought of as symbolizing the unknown, hopefully cleaner and fresher future, even the future now seems to be blurry.

We thank everyone involved in the competition for their lovely photos and insightful texts! Please stay tuned to our blog, as we plan on featuring stories from other entries to the competition here.






SeaHer Environmental Heritage – Add your voice to the changing Baltic Sea Environment

Data gathering as part of the SeaHer project

Data collection is the systematic gathering of information to help in answering a research question or to add knowledge for understanding a phenomena. As part of the data gathering process of the SeaHer project, we are launching a photo competition so that you can share your experiences of living and working by the Baltic Sea. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing your photo with the Baltic Sea. More information follows here.

The Seaher research project would like to announce a photo competition with the Baltic Sea as theme. This is your opportunity to add your voice and photo to Baltic Sea Research.

Environmental heritage as it relates to the Baltic Sea – what is it and whose heritage is it? Answer this question in the way you see it through your
camera and understand it with your own words, through your living experiences with the Baltic Sea.

Stay open to your ideas of all forms of actions and experiences , modes of doing and ways of being, or skills and knowledge related to coastal areas and archipelago of the Baltic Sea. Stay open to all possible actors, both humans and non humans. Is it a living heritage or in danger of vanishing? Is it connected with changes in flora and fauna, in climatic phenomena or in seasonal change? Or something else?

Tell the project about your relationship with the Baltic Sea through your photo for a chance to win an ipad!

Submit your entry (a photo and 300 words) to:

Deadline: March 15, 2021.
Questions: or

Jää-artikkelia kävelemässä

Jaana Kouri ja Kirsi Sonck-Rautio. Kuvat Jaana Kourin.

Me molemmat, Jaana ja Kirsi, olemme tehneet kulttuurien tutkimukseen väitöskirjan, joiden aineistona olivat etnografiset kenttätyöt Kustavissa. Jo ennen koronaa sovimme tekevämme yhteisartikkelin jäästä ja esitimme siitä tiivistelmän aihetta koskevaan tulevaan artikkelikokoelmaan. Nyt oli aika tarttua artikkelin tekoon ennen vaadittua deadlinea.

Etätyöskentelyn aikana luonnossa liikkuminen on muuttunut erittäin tarpeelliseksi, lähes vaatimukseksi. Ilman metsän tarjoamaa maisemanvaihdosta ja toisenlaista äänimaisemaa ajatukset jähmettyvät ja luovuus jää häkkiin. Samanlaisia tuntemuksia herättää myös ihmiskontaktien vähyys. Tutkijan työ on usein yksinäistä, mutta näin yksinäistä se ei ole ikinä ennen ollut. Onneksi syksy on tarjonnut kaunista säätäkin loputtoman vesisateen sijaan, ja juuri kun pimeys tuntui imaisevan loputkin energiat, ripotteli meillekin päin vihdoin vähän lunta.

Muutama päivä aiemmin oli satanut lunta myös rannikolla sijaitsevissa kotikaupungeissamme Turussa ja Paraisilla. Pikkupakkanen, lumivalkoinen maisema ja kyllästyminen Zoom-kohtaamisiin innosti meidät aloittamaan artikkelimme teon ihan oikealla tapaamisella ulkona. Samalla saimme taukoa sisäistumiseen, suunnittelimme artikkeliamme vapaammalla puheenryöpsähdyksillä ja ideoinnilla mikä zoomissa ei oikein tunnu luontevalta. Lähtemällä veden äärelle kutsuimme myös kirjoituksemme kohteen, jään, mukaan artikkelin kehkeytymiseen.

Tämän kuvan alt-attribuutti on tyhjä; Tiedoston nimi on kirsi-parainen.jpg
Kuva 1. Kirsi sai ohjat viedä meidät mihin halusi, pääasia että olimme liikkeellä.
Kuva 2. Olisimme kohta rannassa, veden vierellä.

Vesi oli vielä auki, yöpakkaset eivät vielä olleet tehneet kantta sen päälle. Puissa lenteli variksia, ikään kuin seuralaisia. Ehkä annoimme myös niille seurattavaa ja puheenaiheita. Intouduimme puhumaan inspiraatiosta ja sen puutteesta. Siitä, miten korona-aika oli muuttanut tapojamme kirjoittaa tai tarttua kirjoittamiseen, joka on työmme ja sen tekemisen ydin.

Kuva 3. Läheiselle laiturille laskeutui harmaahaikara.

Pohdimme harmaahaikaran muuttoaikeita tai sitä, miksei se ole vielä muuttanut. Miten ympäristön olosuhteet muuttuvat ja muuttavat käyttäytymistä, miten jätämme tekemättä jotain ja miten alamme tehdä jotain täysin aiemmin sivuun jäänyttä. Miten ne muuttavat meitä, eikä ainoastaan käyttäytymistämme, ehkä jopa pysyvästi.

Kohta saavuimme Munkvikiin, merenrannassa olevaan lehtometsikköön, josta näki kauas ja lähelle. Seurasimme polkua ja polku meren reunaa. Kun menimme rantaan, huomasimme veden jo jäätyneen ohuesti joissain kohdin. Lumi peitti ohutta, ehkä loskaistakin jäätä.

Kuva 4. Veden rajassa oli pitsimäistä riitettä.

Munkvikin metsä on Kirsin henkireikä, paikka, joka oli rakas jo ennen koronaa, mutta varsinkin sosiaalisen erityksen ja etäkoulun aikaan. Syksyn sateiden aikaan polku on usein liian mutainen käveltäväksi, mutta nyt pakkasten tultua ja lumen narskuessa lenkkareiden alla, metsä näytti uudenlaiset kasvot. Pienet salaiset uimapoukamat, joissa kesällä saattoi ruokkia kaloja ja pulahtaa uimaan, olivat nyt seitin ohuen jääpeitteen alla.  Tuomet ja pähkinäpensaat, jotka keväällä niin runsaina verhoavat metsää, olivat nyt lähes paljaat, peittona vain ohut huurrekerros. Maisema oli muuttunut, mutta silti kaunis.

Maisemat antoivat ajatusten olla, tulla ajallaan. Metsästä sukelsi esiin lintu, oksa, lehti. Ne tulivat aiheiksi ja vuoropuhelijoiksi keskusteluun. Miten saisimme jään äänen kuulumaan tekstissämme niin kuin nyt puheessamme, kun kuljemme tässä maisemassa? Otamme jään mukaan toimijaksi, luemme tarkasti haastattelujemme jäätekstiä ja kuuntelemme mitä se sanoo. Saammeko sen näkyväksi aina tekstin toimijaksi asti? Mitä jäästä oli sanottu, miltä se tuoksui, haisi, tuntui, mitä se teki, mihin vaikutti ja miten? Miten se muutti ja miten sen poissaolo on muuttanut asioita ja ihmisen sekä muiden toimijoiden elämää?

Kuva 5. Polun poikki kulki puro, joka oli osin jäässä. Sen yli tassutelleet olivat jättäneet siihen jälkensä, jotka olivat sulaneet jo lähes tunnistamattomiksi.

Ympäröivä metsä oli ryteikköinen ja risukkoinen, siellä oli tilaa kaikille lajeille.  Polun yli kaartuvan ohuen puun ympäri oli kiinnitetty heijastin. Sen voisi alittaa pimeälläkin. Ajatukset poikkelehtivat myös työyhteisön hyvinvointiin, omiin perheasioihin ja omiin kokemuksiin ihmissuhteiden erottamattomasta merkityksestä kaikkeen muuhun mitä teemme ja miten koemme.

Oli sovittava myös kirjoittamisen käytännöistä ja yhteisistä pelisäännöistä. Alkuun kirjoittaisimme vapaasti, lähes rajattomasti, tuottaen tekstiä yhteisen tiedoston aivoriiheen. Sitten muokkaamme tekstiä artikkelin muotoon. Mutta ihan ensin laitetaan rakenne näkyviin.  Voimme tähdätä yhteiseen tekstiin, erottautuminen ei olisi tässä oleellista. Voiko jopa toisen lausetta muuttaa? Ehkei vielä alussa, vaan sitten kun artikkelin osat, aihealueet ovat hahmottuneet. Puheenpätkät, ajatukset ja ideat alkoivat solmiutua toisiinsa. Yhteinen sanoittaminen oli alkanut.

Kuva 6. Polun sivussa oli eskarilaisten luontokoulussa rakentama maja. Nyt myös me yliopistolaiset menimme metsään.

Metsän puolella polku nousi ylös. Oli myös laskuja. Ensi kerralla otamme mukaan termospullon. Pidämme tauon. Myös kirjoittaessa on hyvä antaa aikaa ajatusten tulla ja toisaalta ottaa oikeaan aikaan ote tekemisestä, pitää prosessin rytmiä yllä.  Ja huolehtia omasta hyvinvoinnista, vaikka joogaamalla, kävelemällä, katsomalla taivaanrantaa.

Mäen päällä oli kanahaukan syömäkivi. Sen päältä näki kauas, selkeästi. Metsästä laskeuduimme puutaloalueelle. Lapset laskivat talojen välissä olevaa loivaa tietä kelkoilla alas. Pihasta tuli jalkoihimme kiehnäämään täysin musta kissa.

Kohta olisivat ajatuksemme mustaa valkoisella. Juoni polun kaltainen tarina, narratiivi metsän läpi, johon mahtuisi myös sanojen leikkiä ja vauhtia.

Tulimme kaduille, suojatien eteen. Autot väistyivät ja kuljimme hetken puistossa palautuen luontopolkumme annista.  Sininen hetki oli laskeutumassa. Artikkelin yhteiskirjoittamisen prosessi oli lähtenyt käyntiin.