At the end of my first week in Hailuoto, in a residency called daycare center, the sun finally decided to shine as beautifully as on the day when I arrived here last week. Most of the time there has been snowfall or rain, with more and more snow preventing the old snow from melting and the winter lingering on. Now the brilliant sunshine sparkled in the frost on the puddles on the muddy roads, at least hinting at a promise of spring. And today I finally visited my first Tarri pine, a special type of local pine with a thick trunk and a spread out crown. One of the most famous ones, the Askelin pine, probably named after the farm it is growing on, is known for enduring several wars, and they say it was damaged during the war 1742-43 and has also been hit by artillery. It is actually protected now, with reference to the nature protection law (luonnonsuojelulain nojalla), a sign next to it declares:
‘Rauhoitettu’ is a funny word, it means protected in this case, but it could also mean pacified, so both “made peaceful” or “to be left in peace”. My landlady explained how to find it, and when I walked on the road I saw several pines wondering whether they might be the right one. When I reached the old pine with the sign next to it, it was obvious that the other candidates where nothing near as big and old.
As part of my project Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees, (see separate blog here) I am of course interested in encountering local celebrities. This time, however, it would be hypocrisy to speak of an encounter – I behaved like a really impolite tourist, tramping around the tree without even greeting it first, taking my pictures and then leaving without the slightest thank you. I thought I would have learned to behave myself with trees by now, but obviously not. No wonder if they think they are strange people, these humans…
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