Met with almost all of the habitants of the Degermossa road, the route leading to the Kurängen spring. There was a sense of community and all the occupants had good things to say of their neighbours. Their biggest collective effort seems to be the road maintenance cooperative. An occupant whose grandparents had built the road with the aid of horses, still lives on the site. I spend a few night camping in the forest, habiting a hammock and exploring the area. There is a beautiful cold pond a kilometre north-east from the spring, traces of old paths and endless dark woods. I could hear the east passage cars all the time, so navigation was easy. The spring looks good, I spotted frogs again but the peat I planted last year as a part of my restoration efforts is dying. Only a fraction of it shows signs of life and I think I should remove the unsuccessful re-swampification plants to make room for new growth.
I travelled from door to door and interviewed almost 10 families who live on the road. One of the oldest occupants had lived in their house for 55 years, the youngest had moved in 2016 and new occupants were arriving next month. Some were third generation natives. Most told me that they enjoy the proximity of the woods and perhaps because the forest is literary their backyards, they put in effort to emphasize that there isn’t anything miraculous about it. They collect berries and mushrooms. Some had spotted deer, pug dogs, rare birds and their nests, snakes and rabbits. A few knew members of a local hunting group but none I interviewed took part in it. A few years ago a moose had been tracked north from the road. There are also rare cape frogs [viitasammakko] living in an artificial pond by the road. The pond is marked with a read V. It was made in the fifties by the fire department.
Some told about a bear sighting in 2017 after which they had been cautions of the woods. One confessed that they don’t dare visit the forest alone and that they never had gone past the swamp by themselves. There were rumours of wolves too.
To my surprise: None knew about the spring! One occupant had possibly heard a rumour of it but they had never visited the site or had any idea which direction it would be in. I invited them all to visit the spring with me in the framework of Nomadhouse late in September. As it will be a new site for them, it makes sense to invite the occupants there. I will now have to plan how non-Degermossa road audiences (or if) will join the performance.
I’m dreaming of organizing a camping excursion, perhaps inviting five audience members to spend the night with me in the forest. Cycling to the site from Mellunmäki takes one hour and the route is easy. One occupant, who didn’t know about the spring expressed a desire to keep it a secret so that tourists would not block the road. I think this would make sense and on an earlier visit Miina also expressed interest in keeping the site unknown! I should take visitors to the site blindfolded or intoxicated. I asked the habitats for permission to place the clay vessel I made into the spring, so that visitors could use it and everyone though it was a nice idea. Weird fun!
As none of the habitants, some of whom had family contacts with the forest spanning over a hundred years, had any prior knowledge of the spring… I wonder if the spring exists. Assessing the terrain, I’ve suspected that the spring has been the eye of the swamp before a nearby ditch, piercing the small glen, was dug. The spring might be a by-product of a forest industrialization attempt. If I read the terrain right it was dug to dry the forest and to better enable tree growth. The Sipoonkorpi wikipedia article explains that some parts of the forest have been cut to supply wood for the Suomenlinna fortification (by order of Nicholas II) but I suspect that the ditch has been made after 50ties.