Eckerö Trees

Living in a Monument

My first encounter with the apple tree in front of the building

For the month of July I have the superb privilege of staying in the newly renovated residency in the historical building of Eckerö Post and Customs House on Eckerö Island. Living in this historical environment is a paradoxical mixture of peace and quite, bordering on isolation, and a tourist attraction occupied by a constant flow of visitors during part of the day, located within or next to a summer paradise, nevertheless feeling serene and even austere despite the luxurious facilities. I am still overwhelmed by this experience, arriving only a few days ago, and immediately choosing two trees on the premises to perform with. On the one hand I chose one of the two maple trees in the yard, the one on the right being the more inviting, perhaps because being further away from the cafeteria, and with plenty of space next to the tree. And on the other hand I chose the apple tree in front of the building, hidden behind a hedge of lilacs and small enough to be included in the image almost in full. I really wanted to show at least parts of the building in the background, too.

My first encounter with the maple tree in the yard.

After two easy mornings, or rather days, because I have made the images around noon, a surprise awaited me on Sunday evening; the white bench to the right of the maple tree had been relocated to the left of the tree, exactly where I used to stand, hm. I realized there was still enough space for me between the bench and the tree and decided to enjoy the surprise rather than to be annoyed or try to move the bench back. When I opened the door and stepped out with my camera today a new surprise awaited me; an elderly couple – well, my age probably, – was sitting on the bench. I decided to begin with the apple tree and hope that they would move away by themselves, but no, they did not. So, instead of waiting a few hours I bluntly went up to them, placed my camera tripod in front of them and asked if they would mind being in the image or alternatively leave the bench for a moment. They chose to move to another bench, and I completed the image, standing, not exactly in the same spot as before, but close enough.

My third encounter with the maple tree in the yard.

During these three days I have noticed that my balancing skills have clearly deteriorated for lack of practice, or then my shoes are too soft, not supporting my ankles, or then the spots on the ground are somehow uneven. Be that as it may, I have difficulties in standing on my toes for the duration of twenty one breaths, even if I lower my heels almost to the ground. Hopefully my balancing skills will improve through practice over the coming month…

By Annette Arlander

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