A year ago, when our oldest son Aurelio, visited Ivalo for the first time. One afternoon standing there and admiring the imposing size of the pines, suddenly he said “I want a tree house” Sven’s and my inner child, immediately looked out with our smiles and looked at our eyes; also Aurelio had awakened a demon. We responded right away “next year, when your sister is born, the four of us will come and we will build the tree house where you want, you will choose the trees” with this project in mind we arrived at Ivalo, on the 21st of July of 2015.
Aurelio remembered the moment when we let the genie out of the bottle and he said “now I know where I want the house, here in between these trees”.
– “But Aurelio (I snapped) it would be too big”
– Do not worry mom, this house is also for Savanna and (with Sven’s canine look), ok and obviously you and daddy can come in.
Immediately, before unloading our bags, which contained, clothing, creams, repellent or any necessary thing, already Aurelio remembered with perfection of being there and also having a summer project. That night we slept happily to have reached the end of our small wooden fortress.
The next day, when we went out of our cabin, the reindeers who grazed, greeted us from a prudent distance. Every time I see them, I feel that I am invading them, taking away their space that I am in their living room sitting in their favorite sofa with my legs stretched and cluttering, as if I were an unwanted visitor and looking for the tricky broom behind their door. The reindeers have a subtle and silent presence, that seen them awake makes my heart beat and gives me cute scares, as when the children learn to get up by themselves and one smiles nervously. They never come too close, they don’t trust people and are nervous, Aurelio observes them with respect and had (as) wanted to touch one.
After getting more used to the Green and blue sight of the landscape, looking in the mirror of Ivalojoki (Ivalo’s river), of drinking coffee in typical wooden cups of Laponia, we contacted the person who sells wood, so we can have the bases to build the house.
From having wood we decided to personalize the house a little bit more at a garage sale which practically means “what I want is to get rid of this” that’s how we acquired some old windows in the Garage of a Sami.
Sami’s are indigenous people, who have the most members in Europe and they are located in between Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway.
Now happily with our windows and the wood, we discovered our project was growing, when passing by a gas station, we discovered that it was being demolished and the windows from their coffee shop were set a part to be thrown into the garbage.
After negotiating in our favor, we had bought windows of excellent quality for our crystal tree house, which was the name we gave it after counting with pride all the windows we had.
The windows gave us an important approach, because being inside the house we didn’t stop seeing the nature around us and we could visualize the reindeers cautiously.
In Ivalo, we lost the notion of time, the sun hid for a couple of minutes and then it appeared very rested to continue shinning, while we didn’t find out about a the date nor schedule.
Among the fresh air, picking blueberries, we began to go out to the baths, the lakes and the rivers in the area. Aurelio and Savanna grew as if they were the pines in the wood without realizing it.
Savanna’s teeth sprouted as leaves and Aurelio became a kind of radio sponge interacting with everyone and everything. Ivalo’s silence allowed us to hear the mushrooms grow.
The crystal house over the tree gave us work, it was never considered as a job, since it was expressed with such ease and desire. Aurelio assumed the role of construction manager while Sven assembled and hammered. The saw and its rhythm gave Savanna a new way to express herself with her body, every time she heard her dad saw something, she started dancing and laughing showing her new teeth.
We spent the day submerged in nails and wood, the dream was materializing more and more.
Although we discovered that the tree house was going to be ready for 2016, we endeavor to work as much as possible in finishing its walls, the base of the windows and scraps of wood.
The days when the sun was hotter, we went to immerse in the amber waters of Ivalojoki or in the emerald waters of Pasasjärvi.
We inflated a Kayak as a party balloon and we rowed without aim, nor strategy, our commitment was being attentive towards nature and it was easy to fell tiny due the large open sky. I always felt there were eyes everywhere that were watching us.
The wilderness has an energy that gives whips from behind and makes you lean back as bowing forever. Being in Ivalo is like visiting a very old man, who knows a lot and speaks to you truthfully when you are paying close attention with your eyes closed.
We prolonged our stay, we took a detour from the route. The tree house had turned into a project that needed a lot of time investment. From romance we went to falling in love and that was our only commitment. So our new plan was staying there as long as possible and advance as much as possible. We were not returning the 6th of August as we had planned, but the 20th of August.
As soon as we talked about the decision everything conspired against our project of construction. The sun was coming out more and more, and invited us to swim, the blueberries dressed in lilac, the mushrooms sprouted the same as the onions and the oil next inviting me to cook more and more, the space that was destined for the grills had an imposing sight to Ivalojoki, which seduced us with its twisted wooden fingers.
The pauses were fountains of inspiration, talking about the house and our plans for 2016 were the theme of the harvest. With 20 more days in Ivalo and getting used to purity that sauna had given us with regularity, drinking water from the creek and eating fruits and mushrooms from the forest. I began noticing without concern, that as I walked barefoot, roots sprouted from my feet and I played being a tree and that way I could look closer at the Kukkeli, known as good luck birds who were in the area.
At the 25 days of being there, I could brush my green hair without shame. My smell of forest made me happy, my eyes ached when I would see more than 50 people in the town’s supermarket.
My laughter was no longer goudy to earn the trust of the reindeer, whom gossiped and had designated a young albino reindeer to be the spy of our construction who visited us daily.
With a great deal of effort we managed to complete the base and the four walls of the house, we noticed that time had passed because the sun was starting to hide 6 long hours and the autumn was sending blowing winds in the presence of the night when Ivalojoki was covered by the fog.
Our treehouse would be without out a roof and we projected our presence in 2016 to complete a dream of a 4 year old boy.
It was not easy to raise our camp this time, nature holds tight, impregnated with smells and tastes and it doesn’t offer an easy relationship to part with. With the salt pearls kissing our cheeks we look at our precious crystal house guarded by an albino reindeer that gives us the certainty that everything will be fine to return.
On the way back I noticed my dark brown hair and blueberry my empty hands. My feet no longer had roots; but the smell, but I caught the smell of the forest before it fell apart and coined my senses forever.
In the morning of the 21st of August, we arrived at camp Pyhäjärvi, I recovered and hugged my pillow in a very nostalgic, tired, and very satisfied way.
Now I close my eyes and dropped back as I did many times in the amber river, to dream. Ivalo, Inari and around northern Finland, in Lapland there is an enclosed mystery, a mystery that was believed lost in the concrete jungles that abound on the planet, contain odour of moss, red layer fungus and a clean river. I invite you to visit northern Finland and warn you of the excess purity.