during breakfast we looked out our window to the common yard and noted that people were gathering for a clean-up day like they had in late spring. i had been confused about what was going on then and didnt know how to help once i figured it out, but this time i was determined to do something. so after we ate, x and i got dressed and went out to rake leaves. it wasnt much, but we made a few large piles. most of the other adults were filling dumpsters with broken household items or trimming trees or other more useful tasks, but i felt better that we at least contributed something (as proof of my efforts i received a sore body the day afterward).
anyway, our main and original goal of the day was to pick-up a rental car and get out to a nearby forest and see the fall colors away from the city. we chose the newly opened haltia nature center. the park is at the southern border of the large national park called nuuksio (in retrospect, we perhaps should have gone there for more of a color burst, but you live and learn) and was about 30 minutes away (west and a bit north). unfortunately, half of finland had the same idea.
the new nature center building was nice, made of all natural materials including, im sure, local wood. we enjoyed the room surrounded with screens that was playing a video cycling through the seasons of finland. very beautiful, and we timed it right to get to watch the thunder and lightening of summer scenes twice. we also enjoyed a snack on the terrace upstairs that overlooked a hilly forest of bright yellow trees. i believe this was just a hint of what the nuuksio park would have shown us had we chosen to go up the road a bit further.
(haltia building; terrace)
as it was, we did an easy nature walk right on the haltia grounds. it was rather ho hum, as most of the trees in the direct vicinity were evergreen, and thus not bursting with color. it was also the busy trail of the day so it didnt feel very private, like many of our other experiences in finnish nature have been. but, in the woods on the trail was an exciting looking adventure ropes course for middle aged children that looked like fun, certainly a place worth coming back when x is older. also, the overlook for the trail was pretty and there were people collecting mushrooms, which was interesting to see.
(ropes course; trail)
(found a few leaves to shuffle around in)
all in all, the day was lovely though. being outside was nice no matter where we were, and the idea to get away from helsinki was a good one. the drive to the nature center was very pretty and it reminded me of how much more of finland there is to see, and that while city nature is a lucky thing to have, rural nature is a whole other thing.
*title is a strained reference to the song "stop! in the name of love". :)