I spent some time in Nousiainen this weekend. I was supposed to go and make arrows with dad, but turns out the store that sells the stuff I needed is closed for another week. Damnation.
I did, however, get to try dad's bow probably for the first time. He's got a modern olympic style bow (I'm not an expert on the terminology quite yet, heh) that weighs a whole lot more than my simple longbow and has all these equalizers and whatnot on it. And is basically impossible to use with my strength. It's a 40lb bow (about) and I honestly couldn't shoot with it. Dad got the bow strung for me, but I just couldn't draw the darned thing fully. Not enough strength in my back muscles quite yet... It will be interesting to try whether I'll be able to shoot with it later, because dad said he's going to build a target for us to put up in the back yard. Whee! But before that I really need to get some arrows for my own bow and do some test shooting, so we'll find out if the bow is fully balanced and doesn't need any more work on it.
Ah, but the nostalgy part. Well, I wasn't feeling like studying for my exam, so I decided I'd clean up a closet that's full of my (and my brother's) old toys and books and school stuff. I don't have enough room here in my own apartment to bring all that stuff here, but I'd been meaning to go through all of the clutter one day and maybe prevent everything from collapsing on top of some innocent closet-user. Sunday turned out to be the day for the clean-up.
I found my first ever diary, for example. I got it for my 8th birthday (it had a horse on the cover, naturally) and since I wasn't a very frequent writer, I used it up to the age of sweet sixteen or thereabouts. One of my earlier entries (I almost wrote "posts", ehheh) reminded me once again why Anakin Skywalker's "yippee" or "yahoo" or whatever the yelp was in Episode I when he gets the afternoon off, is in a way very realistic for a kid that age.
I had written down something in the lines of "Today was a nice day, because we had math in school. Yahoo!" (eli siis vielä suomeksi muotoiltuna "Jihuu!"). Later on there were a few literally expressed yelps of "Yippee" and so on. To make matters worse, the exact same entry almost shattered my carefully constructed self-image of a humanist. Math? Yippee?? Geez. I thought I specifically remembered never liking math that much, especially in elementary school when calculators weren't allowed. Huh, I'm so glad I realised there are more interesting things in life than math... ;)
I do have to wonder though, what is it that makes it relatively easy for me to have a blog (or two) and update it relatively regularly, because I never was much of a diary writer. It must be the idea of interacting with people that makes blogging so different from keeping a personal diary. I remember that most of my entries in my various diaries (even as late as during my exchange year in the States) are more like lists of things I did, not any philosophical ponderings on my inner feelings. Sure, there is a line I draw to what I blog about, too, but this media has definitely gotten me to elaborate a lot more on life. Could be also because it's so much easier (as in quicker) to type than it is to write so that the text is actually legible. :)
The closet also had other treasures in its belly. My old toy horses, for example. My precious, precious toy horses. My favorite, a big black and white mare with a carriage and the palomino foal that I instantly decided belonged to this mare. (They weren't a set or anything originally.) I never was into playing with dolls or Barbies, but I was always playing with the horses. I made all sorts of equipment for them (including saddles and such, believe it or not) and the few Barbies (or actually I think they were Daisy dolls) were involved only in the very marginal roles of the horse owners. Ah, such good memories.
And if there's something I love as much as I love the memories of playing with my toy horses, it's the memories of wonderful books. I took a bunch of my old favorites back home with me this time, so I can read some of my old favorite bedtime stories to any visiting toddler who is willing to listen. My godson or -daughter will not have a choice but to listen, though. ;)
It's such a warm feeling I get when I browse through some of the books. There was this one book, sort of sad really, called Talvinalle and I got all choked up and teary while reading some of the pages. (So in fact I'm not so sure at all I'm going to be able to read that stuff to anyone ever...) That has to be one of the absolute all time favorites in our family. It had to be read over and over again, we never got bored with it, me or my brother.
Of other books I distinctly remember some pictures and how they made me feel back when I was listening to mom reading the stories for me. There's a parrot I remember liking in that picture, I never did like that picture so much and so on. Just wonderful. Memories worth cherishing, for sure.
In case you haven't yet figured out my opinion about reading to kids - here's the short and sweet version. Always read to your children. The memories of those shared moments will be the treasures of their lives, for the rest of their years.
To finish up, the story of Talvinalle, just for the sake of pure nostalgy. And because I suddenly feel like a bedtime story. :) Am not going to translate it, sorry. (If you're interested, you can see if you can find the English original from 1974 by Ruth Craft, called The Winter Bear.)
Missä on saapas?
Missä on nuttu?
Taas se sama
aina on hukassa
täytyy olla lämmintä yllä.
Nyt on lapsia kolme tässä
Kuljetaan etelään, länteen, itään,
tutkimatta ei jätetä mitään.
Pengotaan pensaat, kiivetään aidat,
nuuskitaan polut ja polkujen laidat.
Pensaat on paljaat, ruoho jäässä.
Kukkia löytyy, jos silmät on päässä:
Linnuille talvi on aikaa tiukkaa.
Vilu on ankara, ruoka niukkaa.
Löytyykö siementä, marjaa tai muuta?
Voi kuinka monta nälkäistä suuta!
Mansikki myöskin on kävelyllä
ruskea turkki yllä.
Kiltti lehmä, alahan tuosta
lämpimään navettaasi juosta!
Sukka tai kenkä
tai muuta kummaa?
- Riittääpäs ihmettelemistä sulla,
ei siellä mitään, ala jo tulla.
Nuorimmainen on toista mieltä:
kyllä se alas on saatava sieltä.
Vaan kuinka oksalle korkeimmalle
joutunut on pikkuinen nalle?
Märkä ja likainen,
mutta niin kiltti
ja kovin arka.
Retkelle tulikin kumma loppu,
nyt on kotiin kiire ja hoppu,
- Hei äiti, löydettiin pikkuinen nalle
hautautumasta lumen alle!
Ihan alasti pakkassäällä,
ei edes villapaitaa päällä.
Ei ole ennen näillä mailla
karhua hoideltu tällä lailla.
Pestään ja pyyhitään,
Lääkkeen se ottaa
Sitten tyynylle parhaimmalle
pannaan istumaan Talvinalle.
(Ruth Craft 1974, suom. Marjatta Kurenniemi)
Hyvää yötä ja kauniita unia. :)