Lakes and forests are perhaps my very first impression of Finland. When the plane took me from home, almost 8,000 kilometers away to this foreign land and I put my face close to the window and glanced down, there were lakes and lakes, and trees and trees, and lakes and trees.
Forest is an important part of Finnish identity. Whether it is a place for solitary, for a morning run, for family and friends to enjoy the nature or for berry and mushroom picking, Finns find their own special place in the forest. Forests are an important industry in Finland as well, as they are called the “green gold” of Finland (vihreä kulta in Finnish). For a country with only five million of the population living on a land of 338,145 sq km, it is no doubt that Finnish people’s life with nature is closely knitted.
The documentary Into the forest I go has a very beautiful name in Finnish Sielunmetsä, which means the “soul forest.” The documentary transforms the Finnish identity with nature into pictures spoken by different voices. The famous Finnish environmentalist, Pentti Linkola, and the Finnish writer, Juha Hurme were both in the film. (See the trailer here.)
After the screening of the documentary, Into the forest I go, the director, Anu Kuivalainen walked to the front of the theater. It was then that I noticed that she was one of the characters in the film. My friend said it was as if she just walked out from the screen into the audience. She warmly answered the audience’s questions and she gave the audience a question in return that impressed me the most.
“What is your soul tree?”
Hers are pine trees.
How about yours?
You might be able to find one after visiting a Finnish forest!