On a forest ski trip

The forest is black and white and quiet.

On the right, the long slope of Äkäskero in the direction of travel. In this weather, it doesn't look like a fell, but a danger covered by spruce trees.

Was it the 70s, when some parties planned an airport for small planes on top of Äkäskero. Probably a great travel idea in its own time, now it would seem terrible. Fortunately, the funding was not received, or it stumbled into some other bureaucratic quagmire. Hardly many people thought about biodiversity at that time.

New snow has fallen since the last time I moved on hunting skis. When skiing in deep snow, the same wisdom applies as when walking - the longer the distance, the shorter the steps. At the beginning of the trip, the pulse and breathing always have to equalize a little bit later. A couple of days ago, I was skiing in the northern Savoia economic forest. There was less snow and the trees were small. In the small conservation area, the spruces were big and of a different breed than our common Siberian firs. I am at home here among the candle trees.

In the rugged, forest landscape squeezed by the cloud cover, I feel a peace that I can't find anywhere else. The silence of the landscape, the scarcity of little colors and the moist, almost imperceptible snowfall create a narrow underworld reality, where only the sound of the skis sinking into the snow can be heard and the edge of the forest with its own secrets can be seen behind the swamp.

The sky is gray and even though my brain thinks the snow is white, it is already sinking into the low-light blue. The camera is merciless and flattens the sense of a comprehensive forest into a limited square and a boring blue forced color.

I arrive at the edge of a spruce-dominant mixed forest, ski in the forest and look at the slight signs of life on the surface of the snow. The hares ran and at some point the tracks of the fox intersected in the familiar step pattern. A reindeer or an elk waded through the spruce trees. The tracks are old, covered by snow, and the hoof pattern is indistinguishable. From the meandering of the tracks, I conclude that the reindeer passed.

I stop for long periods of time to look at the birch cuckoo growing at the end of the stout bordering forest promontory and the ridge of danger blending into the gray sky behind the marsh behind the birch. Right now I'm not thinking about anything; my thoughts accept the meager idyll that image creates in the brain. So ordinary and ordinary, but perfectly beautiful.

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