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Friday, August 8, 2014

30 Day Journal Challenge, Day 8: The Root of the Matter

Lisa says she periodically asks herself , and now challenges us, to consider the meaning, the substance, the source of our rootedness.  Her journaling prompts include this one:

Tending my roots, right now looks / feels / sounds like…

Well, this week the question is particularly pertinent, because both brothers are in town to go along to the now annual "FinnFest" celebration of Finnishness, this year being held in downtown Minneapolis (among several dispersed special exhibit lsocations...museums, etc.).  Displays, performances and a 'tori' (marketplace) are all designed to connect us to our Finnish roots. 

So, tending my roots right now looks/feels/and sounds like the sounds of grandmother and childhood, music and conviviality ranging from subtle to boisterous, confident women and creative types of every genre, easy going camaraderie, creativity and variable degrees of organization (heard it said today that this, the fifteenth, is the least organized FinnFest yet, and indeed it's taken me hours to navigate the information I need to make informed program choices from the official fest booklet), people that look familiar (The women are strong...I see only one person with a walker, comparable to my arthritis ridden sisterinlaw and me, and many of the men are good looking in a sturdy and relaxed Scandinavian sort of way) and speak in familiar accents, rushing memories of visits to grandmother (both grandmothers, really, though only one was Finnish), recollections of mother and how eagerly she shepherded us to a FinnFest over a decade ago. 

We learned a brief history about Finnish immigration, were reminded of the world                                  widely acknowledged high  quality of life in several areas, heard a folk singer-songwriter who also played home made kanteles of various sizes, a concertina- and accordian-playing humorist (Finnish humor is often so subtle one might miss it altogether...a sort of self-deprecating, bogus mix of running commentary and one-offs), singing groups and eclectic bands maximizing the use of scales in minor key,, and began checking out the Tori (Marketplace) booths.

I met writers...a poet on a grant for creative book arts, a painter thrilled at having her own new gallery in a suburb, the editor of a Finnish-American newspaper, a bookseller of
Finnish literature for all ages, a promoter of the Finnish Foundation, among other artists
artisans and craftspeople.  I'm eager to go back tomorrow, to extend these conversations and meet still other fellow (and GAL) Finns. 

The Finns are a creative people, and I'm proud to call myself one of them. This exposure reminds me of my roots in this culture (both maternal grandparents were Finnish immigrants), and the high standard to which I rightfully aspire, inspires me to re-connect with my FInnish heritage, connect and continue to explore my art (writing, singing) alone and in the company of peers, today's new friends, perhaps. the.possibilities.that continue to invite me, luota = TRUST (the 'touchstone' word I grab, not looking, from the artist's basket of small, blue and white painted stones.)  I trust that this is where I need to be, and what I need to nourish my spirit, this week, now, now, now....

What does this all say about me, about Shirley's identity.  I will continue to explore. 
 Another hour, and did I even get to the heart of the matter...will I ever?!  Good night.

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