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On the lowest branch again

Year of the Ox – On the Lowest Branch (March)

After several weeks of thaw season, with the ice melting and only a narrow bridge left to walk across to the island on – which I did not have the courage to try, unlike some of my braver colleagues – the sea was now open. There is still plenty of ice on this side of the jetty, which will make for large ice floes blocking the passage at some point, but for now there was no problem. A group of us got a ride across with the caretaker. The idea is to get at least some of the rowing boats to sea today, despite the rainy weather. My main interest to get to the island, however, was to be able to make my image with the birch within the month of March, as planned.

While waiting for the ice to melt I have considered various alternatives to a monthly calendar, like “The Four Seasons”, or better still, “The Seven Seasons”, or something similar. That might become a relevant option, if I have trouble getting to the island for other reasons, such as my coming visit to Hailuoto Island in the north in April, or my stay at the Eckerö Post House in July. That remains to be seen. For now I am done with March.

It was nice meeting the birch after six weeks; I began this calendar on fifteenth of February, in bright sunlight and lots of snow. Today there is a soft drizzle, wind from the south and most of the snow is gone, at least around the birch. A manmade birds’ nest is lying on the ground next to the tree; it was probably covered by snow last month. And finding exactly the same position for the camera tripod was not so easy, because I had no other mark than the branch of the small oak tree, but I guess I managed reasonably well.

My main occupation during this month has been visiting the sea-buckthorn on the mainland, on the shore further towards the west, and only three visits remain – the month is ending. Returning to Harakka Island after a break, whether due to bad weather or travels elsewhere or some other reason, always reminds me of how excellent a space it is for working and getting things done, at least compared to working at home as I have done during these pandemic times.

I do miss Örö Island, too, although spending a week there, as I did in the beginning of January and in the end of February, is something else compared to working here in a house full of colleagues and with more than twenty years of memories and materials surrounding me. Instead of returning to Örö in March – I planned a series of monthly visits but did not receive the funding I hoped for, so that plan might have to be adjusted – I am going to spend a month on another island, on Hailuoto in the north. More of that at the end of the week…

By Annette Arlander

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