Understanding the sea

130707saopedrodemoelI’ve seen many beautiful places during my travels. Most of them I haven’t photographed, as I think the photo never captures the moment in the right way. Perhaps that happens because I’m a lousy photographer, perhaps because the lens cannot quite see what my eyes see, hear what my thoughts have to say or feel the tingling on my back.

As I was going through my travel photos from the recent visit to Portugal, I bumped into this picture. One of the places we stopped by was São Pedro de Moel, a tiny seaside village halfway between Lisbon and Aveiro. The day was very sunny, very bright, and it was pretty windy.

Surprisingly, the photo captures the moment pretty well: what I was thinking and feeling at the time. I was in awe in front of the ocean. Steep cliffs, big waves, and a far-reaching view to the horizon. I don’t often get to see this while the sun warms my shoulders. My Northern notion of the sea is more like cold, windy, ruthless, and a little frightening. To see surfers hit the waves with enthusiasm was intriguing.

One of my summertime novels this year is Shipping News by Annie Proulx. I’m maybe half way through the book and yesterday I did something out of the ordinary: I watched the movie Shipping News while still in the middle of the book. Unheard of, but breaking the routines is good for me. Anyway, the novel and the movie both describe the sea in the way I’m more prone to understand. Rough and unforgiving.

And today I went to see the photo exhibition by Steve McCurry, at Kunsthalle in Helsinki. The exhibition was impressive in so many ways that it’s hard to describe it in words. But in the theme of water and the sea, there were quite a few pictures of people in water. One of my favourites was an old man carrying an old Pfaff sewing machine in neck-deep water with a wonderful smile on his face. The iron machine was covered in rust, but it seemed to bring a lot of happiness to the man. Why he was walking in neck-deep water, I don’t know. I chose not to read much of the details of the photos, as I just wanted to enjoy the visual experience.

Have you ever tried that? Not filling your thoughts with the details of who, where and when, but instead just looking at the photos?

♦ In the meantime: Today I get to meet people I haven’t seen in a while. Wonderful. What combines us all is Laos. Some of us still live there, some of us in Finland, some of us already elsewhere.

♥ Song of the day: Biffy Clyro, Biblical

3 thoughts on “Understanding the sea

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