The Streets of Venice

After hectic day in Venice full of life and laughter I return to my hotel and relax a bit.
It is midnight as I hear the bells of the Cathedral of Saint Mark and they seduce me for a
nightly stroll. I cannot resist the temptation so with a Pepsi and camera in my hand I set out
on my nightly journey to see how Venice looks this Sabbath night. Listening to Hans Zimmer’s
“Last Samurai” Soundtrack on my iPod I start my walk into the night.

I reach San Marco’s square. It is 01:11 at night. Just 7 hours before there was maybe 50 000 people
on this square. Now there are three plus me. And 2 dogs that are playing.
I stand in front of majestic church of San Marco or Saint Mark as we Lutherans have come to know him.
One of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ. Earlier I attended, out of morbid curiosity since I do not subscribe
to any religion, to a Catholic Mass in this very same church. The entrance to the church was only through
a Basilika and cost 4 euros. This took me through a souvenir shop that sold everything from Jesus key holders
to Coke. I did not find digital Jesus although I would have loved to have one. I cannot help but to think what
Jesus himself would think about all this nonsense that I see in here. It makes me almost physically sick.
I enter the majestic Cathedral where the mass is taking place. No photos it says. Hmm interesting. The mass is
a ritual that follows a strict routine. It has a clear reasoning for its sake and I am wondering what that reasoning
might be. Thousands of years man has built great monuments to “glorify God”. This is one of them. People sit and
stand up as the priest is reading from his holy book. I don’t pay much attention to what he is saying, largely because
my Italian is limited to words I could not use in the church. Suddenly a dejavu comes to me. I was 14 years old when I
played Toccata and Fugue in D minor, the saddest of all keys, in a church in Klaukkala where I grew up. I played it with
electric guitar and amplifier. I wonder if they would let me play here. I doubt.

I leave in the middle of the mass and wander upstairs encountering several guards that look extremely pissed off. They don’t
have guns though. I manage to take a picture and wonder if I would be burnt at the stake or if I should have a stake if I would
get caught.

All the fancy cathedrals in Venice. And in Paris. And you name it. What for is the question that comes to my mind when I am strolling
through the streets of Venice in the dark night. There is nobody here, only me, my camera and Leonardo Da Vinci Code.

They say that God is in these churches. I must envy these people who know this. I did not find a trace of life, laughter or joy in any of the
churches I visited today. Not in Saint Mark’s, not in Santa Maria’s. Not in Notre Dame few weeks ago in Paris.

They leave me cold with their fancy architechture and symbols and they force me to ask a question: if there is God, is he really hidden
inside these cold walls? Or could it be that she is in the laughter of a birthday party that was laughing so hard that it made the whole restaurant laugh. Or could it be that he is in those 2 dogs that play at Saint Mark’s square at 2 AM?

Where is God. Did we kill him like Nietsche proposed? Looking at this world in this moment, I am very sad to say that unfortunately it
really seems so.

I head back to the hotel looking at amazing night sky. I pass the 2 lions that guard the San Marco’s cathedral and head towards the hotel.
The receptionist welcomes me with a smile and hands me a leaflet “Shadows of Venice”. Little he knows about my trip and what I am
thinking. But he is kind and smiling. And he has more life in his smile than my whole 2 hour trip. Now that is something to think about.

Love and Peace, Timo

Road Less Travelled-Divinity in everyday life or just being?

It’s 6.10 in the morning. I like to wake up early and go for a walk always taking a camera with me if possible. I am lucky to live in a place that has a forest and water very close to me and these are the things I really do not take for granted. Or do I?
After closing the door behind me I am already facing a first choice: if I take the elevator or if I walk down. I take the elevator. I continue and open the door outside where fresh morning air and rising sun greets me with a nice view. I live in a place that, loosely translated, means “Wuthering heights” in Finnish. It is always very windy here and yet in this morning for some reason the winds are not very strong but strong enough for them to show me who is the boss.

I continue my morning walk. Nobody is awake. This is my favourite time of the day. Undisturbed and just for me. No phonecalls or emails. Just silence.

I’m planning to go to a place where I normally never go in winter. It is a place where many of my ideas in the last 6 years have been born. It is a place surrounded by trees, a rock to sit and a sea view. But now is March and this winter has been extremely heavy in Finland. The temperatures have varied from +5 to -30 Celsius from where I live (do the conversion yourself please) and in most places, even in Helsinki, we have snow cover of over 1 meter. This I saw last time when I was 6 years old, so long time ago.

I continue to the forest and I notice a path that other people have walked. It is tiny, only about 25 cm wide and that makes it hard to stay on that path. It is also slippery. Many times I almost fall and having somewhat scruffy looks with a camera in my hand at 7 in the morning I probably look like an idiot. Would make a good comedy act probably.
I walk the path and I look around and I am surrounded by magnificient trees, snow and different kind of rocks. In other words, by nature. I feel strong wind and it, I can’t poetically say caresses, greets me with its power and blows me off the path to the snow next to the path. I sink and struggle to get back to the path and find it very difficult. I’m stuck. Me, 45 years old man, I am stuck in a snow in a forest in Finland. Now that is something to think about.

I struggle for a while and then I have no other choice but to continue to walk in the snow. It is extremely difficult. It’s nothing like the small path I was walking just 10 minutes ago. This is a heavy path. But wait. It does feel hard but it also feels more solid and yet difficult. With each step my foot sinks into the snow and I go forward a bit. Suddenly I realize I am making a new path to myself. It is truly an enlightening feeling. There is something familiar in that feeling. Something I have forgotten. How it was to play in the snow when I was a boy of 8 years and not very far from here actually. The joy of simple things. The mystery of the snow. The details in every snowflake. They are beautiful.

I finally reach my destination and take some pictures, pause for a moment watching the horizon where sun is just rising offering amazing view that no Blue Ray disc can capture. I can feel the power of the nature here and it is very strong and it makes me humble. All these huge old trees.
I start going back following the safe narrow path and I reach my home and open the door to a corridor. Again I am facing many of my daily choices: if I take the elevator or if I walk the stairs. Again I take the elevator. In the meantime I left this laptop I am using to type this, to do some tasks which it has completed with precision.

I take a shower, grab a cup of coffee and start writing this blog that I enjoy doing from time to time. I write without any particular aim or message. If there is any, it probably is found somewhere buried in the text because this is just stream of consciousness.
In the shower while water keeps running over my body I suddenly realize how many things in my life I take for granted. It is truly amazing. Almost everything. It is a frightening thought but it is true. All this while taking a simple shower. And yet they say we have 50 000 thoughts per day. I had maybe 100 today and I don’t remember them. I only remember that I am in the shower and having these thoughts.
Finally I am tempted to take my favourite book called “ Road less traveled” which I really love. It has a poem that finishes this better than I could ever say or write. It was written by a poet named Robert Frost. Thanks for reading this!

-Timo

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

Tragedy of Japan

  • It is 13:34PM 17.3.2011
  • Im looking at the icy Gulf of Finland through my window. Feeling at the same time
  • very detached due to the scenery, I am also very much concerned about the situation in Japan.
  • I have been there 18 times during my life and I have come to know Japan and its ancient
  • traditions very well.
  • The ancient code of the Samurai’s ” Bushido” also known as “The Way of the Warrior” is a principle
  • that most people perhaps could find useful but it is not really followed by anyone. Perhaps its utopistic.
  • Money and industry in generally is the one that rules the whole system, it seems. Unfortunately.
  • Having written songs about this,love,peace,death and life in general for almost 20 years, I feel very
  • bad when I look at the horrible pictures that come from Japan.
  • This is a catastrophy in the magnitude mankind has not seen before and yet why do I have the idea
  • that people find the horrifiying scenes from TV very unreal? Like from a hollywood film we all have
  • seen so many times.
  • But what is happening now is very real and having been in Japan so many times I have to say that
  • this really makes me think.

Dont you think that it should make everyone think? Because I do. I really do.