Journal

Dispatches and speculations from the American roadside.



January 21, 2020

Self

I was shaken by Helene Schjerfbeck’s self-portraits at the Finnish National Gallery.

January 20, 2020

Past

Whenever I come across Goethe’s maxim that architecture is frozen music, Helsinki is what I see.

January 19, 2020

Wonder

Looking at the sky tonight, I think about Origen of Alexandria, the philosopher who believed the stars were rational creatures and the sun could sing.

January 18, 2020

Return

Alone in Helsinki. The sky is pure gloom with rain that hangs in the air, refusing to fall.

January 17, 2020

Station

The idea cohered on the train somewhere between Turku and Helsinki: take a photograph and write at least three sentences every day.

January 16, 2020

Solitude

It seems perverse that a deeper sense of community would come from living someplace remote rather than among the crowds of the city.

January 15, 2020

Retreat

This season is defined by muted Bergman films projected on the wall in the hour of the wolf.

January 14, 2020

Scale

I came across moments in the forest that felt ceremonial, the ancient rites of geology operating at scales beyond my comprehension.

January 13, 2020

Cabin

I stared at the empty cabins along the shore, half-wondering if I was still dreaming about my father.

January 12, 2020

Sermon

I went to a 700-year-old church on Sunday morning and the service was purely tonal because I don’t understand Finnish. It was the most moving sermon I’ve ever heard.

January 11, 2020

Climate

The town’s priest also apologized for the warm weather. “This new climate is beyond me,” he said.

January 10, 2020

Crying

The tears of things. If I squint at this phrase a certain way, I catch a glimpse of how I might better relate to grief.