More Pines on Örö

On the Edge I, II, III & II-IV, performed 3.11.2020 on Örö

Bending with the Pine I, II & I-II, performed 6.11.2020 on Örö

Pine by the Sea I, II, II & I-III, performed 6.11.2020 on Örö

Among the Pines I & II, performed 7.11.2020 on Örö

Sitting on a Pine, performed 7.11.2020 on Örö

Writing with a Pine, performed 10.11.2020 on Örö

Reclining with the Pine, performed 14.11.2020 on Örö

Writing in a Pine, performed 16.11.2020 on Örö

Pines by the Path (Kära Tall), performed 1.12.2020 on Örö

Dear Pine, performed 18.11.2020 on Örö

10.11.2020 Örö

Dearest Pine Tree,

Excuse me for bumping into your ”lap” without notice, and coming to you like this, without forewarning. I was so perplexed hearing a motor sound, an airplane or helicopter in this silence that I forgot what I was about to write, so let me start again.

It is a great pleasure and honour to be able to sit on your branch and address you with this letter, simply to be with you on this island, a former military island that has been turned into a national park and opened to the public only five years ago. The island is full of pine trees, both old and young ones, and many of you are bent in strange contortions due to the constant wind. The reason I came to you today is exactly that, the extraordinary situation that there is no wind. It is so quiet that I can hear the buzz from the “radar” tower, not far from here. I have been here only for a week, so I cannot say for sure, but as I hear it is usually windy here, so let us enjoy this moment of stillness as a beautiful exception! I actually visited you last week and even posed for a video camera together with you, because I was so impressed by your place of growth. Half of your roots are cut off and a portion [part] of your trunk rests in mid-air. There is a big hole where sand has been extracted right next to you, to the right from where I sit, although I chose to place the camera in a such a way that your deformations and your precarious position do not show. Why did I do that, actually? Your “bravery” was what caught my attention to begin with. Perhaps as a gesture of respect, I guess. I wanted to show you at your best, not as the vulnerable creature you are, like all of us. – At this point I probably have to explain why I address you formally like this, and in English. This letter is aimed not only for you, but [also] to other humans to hear, or perhaps read as well. And unlike some other letters to trees I have written, this will be a letter pondering on letter writing and especially writing letters to trees, so a “meta-letter” of sorts, probably, at least on some level. I would not like to bother you with ponderings that have no relevance for you if I did not feel that you somehow accept being part of this attempt. With all your experience of winter storms, military assaults and now visiting tourists, lately, you are of course accustomed to human attention. And I do not really demand any response from you, I simply try to articulate my thoughts in your presence, in writing, as clearly as possible, so that you can sense them in your manner, or then my intentions at least, and my respect, if nothing else.

I have been experimenting with various ways of performing and posing with trees and the idea of writing letters to trees, like the one I am writing to you now, is something I have explored only recently. Earlier I wrote small texts on behalf of trees, and spoke them as the trees, as if the trees would speak, hanging some earphones on the branches of those talking trees. But that is a long time ago, and it was not a very satisfying way of performing together. It was more like using the tree as a puppet [in puppet theatre] to hang stories on. Well, what am I doing now, then? I am sitting on you as if on a wooden bench in a park, and writing “stories” again. Well, not exactly. There is a difference in trying to address you, to talk to you or with you, to engage in a communication with you, however clumsy or one-sided that might be, compared to speaking for you or on behalf of you. Speaking for others is ethically challenging, sometimes necessary, but often misguided. Listening might be the best option in many cases, and that is what I have tried to do previously. Or, if not directly listening, then being in the vicinity of, being nearby, sitting with you or some of your relatives, breathing together, growing together, sharing our participation in zoe, in life, and engaging in trans-corporeal exchanges, with all the chemicals and magnetic or other waves and various substances floating between us and through us. That is probably a more reasonable way of trying to perform together, after all, because this letter-writing is strangely one-sided. After all, letters are usually written to people who are not present. But there is an effort of creating an I-You relationship despite the risk of falling back to some kind of romantic notion of “merging with nature”, or projecting human sentiments on trees and other living beings, or even what they call the pathetic fallacy. But, in another way it would be an even more “pathetic” fallacy, I think, to assume that you would not be able to sense my presence in some manner. Ok, I am not suggesting that you can read this letter. Or even read my thoughts, but by at least trying to address you in this way, I feel there is some contact possibility [possibility for contact] opened between us. Rather than thinking of you as the “Other”, something wholly different and unreachable, I prefer to think of you as a relative, a distant one but a relative, nevertheless. And in some sense, we share the same ancestors, I guess. – Now I have used all my time, and more, and have to stop here. I want to thank you for your patience, and friendly, welcoming attitude and I want you to know that I really, really appreciate the possibility to spend time with you here today. Thank you once more, and all the best for the future! Yours AA

 

Örö 16 November 2020

 

Kära tall,

jag vänder mig till dig på svenska, för det känns som det naturligaste alternativet här ute i yttre skärgården, trots att du antagligen hör minst lika mycket finska och varför inte andra språk också, i synnerhet under sommarmånaderna. Här runt dig har det pågått skogsarbete, många tallar har fällts, och det är fint att du bevarats, antagligen för din intressanta form. Du är ju faktiskt ett idealiskt klätterträd för eventuella barn som kommer förbi, och varför inte vuxna också. Fast jag är nog säkert en av de äldsta som klivit upp på din gren här. Jag är ingen expert på att klättra i träd, och inte alls våghalsig heller, men dina grenar verkar så inbjudande, de bildar nästan som en stege att kliva upp längs. Det är egentligen lite för kallt för att sitta och skriva med bara händer, men lyckligtvis skyddar skogen mot vinden, som man kan höra i bruset från stranden. Jag hoppas förresten att jag inte stör dig i din höstvila, och jag klampade bara upp utan något slags välkomstceremonier eller hälsningar. Klumpigt, javisst, men så beter jag mig ofta med mänskor också. Egentligen skulle jag hellre bara sitta här och andas in vinden med dig, men skrivandet får mig att hålla mig varm, så absurt som det låter. Och jag vill på något sätt försöka tala till dig och tala om för dig hur fin jag tycker du är, stilig och spännande i din flammande form. Men egentligen är många av dina genar döda, eller saknar i alla fall barr och kottar, det är bara högst uppe i kronan som du är grön och frisk. Det växer en massa mossa och lav på din stam, och det är säkert fullt med all slags småkryp också. Jag sällar mig till de där småkrypen som livnär sig på dig, även om jag nog är ett slags "storkryp" , åtminstone vad vikten beträffar. Nej, det var inte särskilt roligt, förlåt. Men dina nedre grenar är faktiskt väldigt starka, jag kan inte känna det minsta svajande under min tyngd. Även om jag tror att jag inte åsamkar dig lidande eller större besvär, börjar det bli alltför kallt för mig att sitta här i vinden, så jag tackar för mig och önskar dig allt gott i fortsättningen. Tack för att jag fick sitta här, och ha det så bra! hälsar AA

Örö 18 marraskuuta 2020

 

Rakas mänty,

tervehdys tästä juuriltasi, tai oikeastaan alimmilta oksiltasi - vai olisiko tämä paksu oksa, jonka päällä istun oikeastaan osa vääntynyttä runkoasi. Et ehkä muista minua, mutta olemme tavanneet kerran aikaisemmin. Istuin tässä viime viikolla hytisemässä tuulessa, mutta silloin minulla ei ollut kirjoitusvälineitä mukanani, ja kamera tärisi tuulessa niin häiritsevästi, etten koskaan editoinut kuvaa. Saa nähdä miten tällä kertaa käy! Sinänsä tämä tuuli ei ole voimakas, aukea ranta vaan saa sen tuntumaan vahvemmalta. Huomiseksi on luvattu myrskytuulta, yli kaksikymmentä metriä sekunnissa, ja se vaikeuttaa jo merellä liikkumista. Mutta sinun kannaltasi se ei ehkä ole niin kovin poikkeuksellista, olet varmaan kokenut yhden, jos toisenkin myrskyn ja osaat varautuakin niihin. Mutta miten, oikeastaan? Et voi vetää oksiasi kiinni runkoon, tai vetää neulasiasi suppuun - oletan. Mutta se, että kasvat maata pitkin ja enemmän pensaan lailla on varmaan seurausta nimenomaan varustautumisesta tuuleen, vaikken tiedä millä tavalla. Tai, jos ajatellaan jotenkin yksinkertaistetun luonnonvalinnan kautta, ne männyt, jotka valitsivat uhmakkaamman tien ja kasvoivat suoraan, ovat ehkä kaatuneet myrskyissä. Rannoilla näkee kyllä sellaisiakin, jotka kerran kaaduttuaan jatkavat kasvamistaan runko maata myöten, ja luovat uusia oksia ylöspäin latvukseksi. Ehkä sinullekin on joskus sattunut vastaavanlainen onnettomuus, ja olet sitten vain jatkanut kasvamista uusista lähtökohdista. Se on tietysti aika hyvä neuvo itse kullekin, kun ikää karttuu, eikä asioita enää pysty tekemään samalla tavalla kuin ennen. Mutta aina ei ole helppoa nähdä mihin suuntaan sitä pitäisi ryhtyä kasvamaan. Juuri nyt minun ei tarvitse päättää, voin vain istua tässä sinun kanssasi, ja antaa tuuleen puhaltaa lävitseni. Se tulee etelästä eikä ole niin kylmä kuin voisi kuvitella - tai lännestä oikeastaan. Ehkä on silti viisainta jättää sinut tähän tuiverrukseen, kun kerran olet siihen tottunut ja kasvanut. Minulle, heiveröiselle ihmiselle, tämä alkaa olla turhan kylmää. Kiitos, että sain istua tässä tuulessa kanssasi, ja kiitos rauhoittavista ajatuksista, joita minulle annoit, jollakin tavalla tai välityksellä. Toivon sinulle kaikkea hyvää tulevan talven varalle, ja ennen kaikkea, ettei huominen myrsky tuottaisi sinulle tuskaa tai tuhoa. Kiitos, kiitos, ja voi hyvin! AA

Örö 1.12.2020

Kära tall, jag har gått förbi dig så många gånger, oftast om morgonen, att jag tyckte det var viktigt att komma och hälsa på dig ordentligt innan jag reser bort. Du, eller ni, för egentligen är det nog två separata träd som växer från samma plats men inte en gemensam rot, förmodar jag, för era stammar är inte sammanvuxna, så ja, ni är böjda som en perfekt liten bänk att sitta på intill stigen, och det ser ut som om en och annan mänskobesökare faktiskt suttit här, åtminstone tidigare på hösten. Dessutom har den ena av er, den som böjer sig över stigen, den jag inte sitter på, utan har framför mina fötter, en blå kvadrat spikad på sig för att markera vandringsstigen. Jag undrar om det är plågsamt att ha den fastspikad så där brutalt? Men å andra sidan tycks inte barken ha tagit skada, och ingen kåda har runnit kring spikarna. Kanske naturvårdarna vet vad de gör, det kan man ju hoppas för det är väl de som satt upp märkena. – Idag är det blåsigt, och det är faktiskt ganska kallt att sitta här på stranden med vinden rakt på, men om man betänker att det är december, alltså mitt i vintern, så är det ju inte ens minusgrader. Så har det blivit med vintrarna nu, ojoj! Eller kanske vintrarna alltid har varit rätt milda på Örö, för vi är ju rätt långt söderut, och ute till havs. Jag undrar hur det kommer sig att ni vuxit på det här sättet, böjda bort från varandra. Kanske det har funnits grenar som kapats av eller bara brustit av någon orsak. Den vridna formen är egentligen vacker, och bekväm att sitta på, faktiskt. Men det känns ändå konstigt att utnyttja era ”missbildningar”, om man skall säga som det är. Fast missbildning låter nog helt fel, för formerna är vackra, snarare ornament eller dekorationer. Jag vill inte vara oförskämd eller oartig, och absolut inte såra dig, ja er, utan bara tala om sakerna som de är, kalla dem för deras rätta namn. Men nej, nu är jag dum – vem bestämmer vad som är det rätta namnet på en förvriden gren, som lika gärna kunde kallas böjd och betagande. Bonsai-tallarna formas ju med flit till att böja sig åt olika håll. Men ni har valt att växa såhär självmant, förmodar jag? Oberoende av så tycker jag att ni är vackra och inbjudande här vid stigen, och det var därför jag ville sätta mig här en stund. Så förlåt att jag började tramsa om deformationer och liknande. Min avsikt var att visa min uppskattning, men det blev helt fel. Tack i alla fall för ert tålamod med min klumpighet, och tack för att jag fick sitta här en stund. Jag önskar er allt gott i fortsättningen, och en fridfull vinter här på stranden. Tack!

Örö 10.11.2020

Dearest pine,

Excuse me for disturbing you this November afternoon and please forgive me for recording this meeting with a video camera. I am very grateful for having the opportunity to spend time with you on this island, which was previously reserved for the military only, and has been transformed into a national park and opened to the public only five years ago. And I am grateful to you for allowing me to sit on your branch and to appearing or performing together with me for this brief moment. I also have to apologize for addressing you in English, which is not my native language, nor your preferred language, I assume. What your preferred language would be I do not even dare guess, something with (volatile) chemicals, perhaps. The reason for this formal address is that I hope this letter to reach other humans and not only you, that is, humans will hear or probably read this letter as an example of my practice of writing letters to trees, and also as a “meta-letter” of sorts, since my aim is to consider this practice in terms of its ethical and artistic implications, at least I will try to do that. Meanwhile, I also hope that these thoughts will somehow reach you, if not through these words, then through my thoughts. And even though you might not be able to read my thoughts in a strict sense, I hope you will be able to sense my intentions, somehow, and to affirm [ascertain] that they are benign and respectful. Anyway, I hope you are well this lovely afternoon, which is truly exceptional by being completely still. I have only spent little more than a week on this island, and so far, the wind has been heavy [strong] day in and day out. You have spent all your life here, so you should know. Many of your relatives are bent in all kinds of strange contortions due to the wind, being broken in storms and then growing from what was left; remarkable bravery, I must say. You too, have a rather precarious position next to the sand [pit], with half of your roots, or what is left of them, right in mid-air. The branches that I sit on have reached far out on the slope to counterbalance that, I suppose. I came here before, last week, as you might remember, and tried to pose with your roots, creating a small video that I call “On the Edge”. But that is another story. My concern now is this act of writing, of “performing writing for camera” on one hand and of addressing you as a tree with a letter on the other. Usually letters are written to those who are absent, not to those present, of course. Somehow it feels easier to address you in writing than through speech, though, probably because formulating or articulating my thoughts into words could make them somehow “clearer” for you to discern, This attempt at addressing you, however, is a result of various attempts at performing with trees, beginning with speaking “as” trees in a series of site-specific monologues called Trees Talk, using mp3 players with brief texts spoken as if by the trees and hanging them on the branches of those trees together with earphones for passers-by to listen to. That made the tree like a puppet to hang stories on, not a very satisfactory solution. By addressing you in writing I am of course also risking a “pathetic fallacy” of sorts, thinking of you as a [kind of] human being. But perhaps that is not so dangerous. As Martin Buber suggested and I-You relationship to other living beings is worth striving for, and as Efraim Kohak has suggested, our manner of speaking matters. – Now I hear some strange sounds, birds… – Nevertheless, it might be that simply spending time together, listening to you rather than addressing you, would be a more appropriate form of conversation. Anyway, my time is up, and I want to thank you for this moment together, for your friendliness, patience and generosity, and wish you all the best for the coming winter! Yours AA

 

Örö 16 November 2020

 

Dear Pine,

I turn to you in Swedish, because it feels like the most natural alternative here in the outer archipelago, although you probably hear at least as much Finnish and why not other languages, too, especially during the summer months. There has been some forestry work around you, many pine trees have been felled and it is great that you have been spared, probably thanks to your interesting form. You are really an ideal climbing tree for children that might come by, and why not adults, too. However, I am probably one of the oldest who have climbed up on this branch of yours. I am not an expert in tree climbing, and not especially daring either, but your branches seem so inviting, they form almost like a ladder to climb up with. It is really a bit too cold to sit and write with bare hands; luckily the wood protects against the wind that you can here in the noise from the seashore. By the way, I hope I am not disturbing you autumn rest, when I simply thrust myself up without any greetings or ceremonies of welcome. Clumsy, sure, but that is how I often behave with humans as well. Actually, I would prefer to simply sit here and breath in the wind together with you, but writing keeps me warm, however absurd it sounds. And I want to try to address you in some way and tell you how nice you are, elegant and exciting in your flame-like form. Actually, many of your branches are dead, or at least they lack needles and cones; only high up in your crown you are green and healthy. There is a lot of moss and lichen growing on your trunk and it is probably full of all kinds of small bugs, too. I join those small bugs that feed on you, even though I guess I am a “big bug”, at least regarding my weight. No, that was not very funny, sorry for that. But your lower branches are really very strong; I cannot feel the least swaying under my weight. Although I think I am not causing you any suffering or trouble it is becoming too cold for me to sit here in the wind. So, I say thank you for me and wish you all the best for the future. Thank you for letting me sit here and farewell. Yours AA

Örö 18 November 2020

 

Dear Pine,

greetings from down here at your roots, or actually your lowest branches – or perhaps this thick branch that I sit on is really part of your bended trunk. You might not remember me, but we have met once before. I sat here last week, feeling cold in the wind, though at that time I did not have writing tools with me, and the camera was shaking so disturbingly in the wind that I never edited the image. Let’s see how it goes this time! As such this wind is not that strong; the open shore makes it feel harder. They have forecasted a gale for tomorrow, more than twenty meters per second, and that will have an effect on traffic at sea. From your perspective it is perhaps not that extraordinary, you have probably experienced many storms and can prepare for them. But how, actually? You cannot pull back your branches close to the trunk or your needles together – I suppose. The fact that you grow along the ground, however, and more like a shrub is probably the consequence of your preparing for wind, although I do not know how. Or, if we think in terms of simplified natural selection those pines that chose a more defiant way and grew straight, have perhaps fallen in storms. On the shores one can see those who have continued growing along the ground afterwards and create new branches upwards for a crown. Perhaps you had a similar accident and have simply continued growing from the new starting point. That is indeed quite good advice for anybody who is ageing and no longer able to do things in the same way as one used to do. However, it is not always easy to see in which direction one should begin to grow. I do not have to decide right now; I can only sit here with you and let the wind blow through me. It comes from the south and is not as cold as one would imagine – or from the west, really. Perhaps it is nevertheless wisest to leave you here in the wind, since you are used to it and have grown with it. For me, a fragile human, it is getting too cold. Thank you for letting me sit here in the wind with you and thank you for the calming thoughts you gave me, in some manner or mediation. I wish you all the best for the coming winter and above all that the storm tomorrow will not cause you distress or damage. Thank you, thank you and keep well! AA

AA