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- Helsingin aikuisopisto shared on Facebook
Etkö ehdi harrastaa arki-iltaisin? Ehkä päivä- tai viikonloppukursseistamme löytyy tähän ratkaisu!
- Helsingin aikuisopisto shared on Facebook
Etkö ehdi harrastaa arki-iltaisin? Ehkä päivä- tai viikonloppukursseistamme löytyy tähän ratkaisu!
A chilly, but sunny March afternoon gets started at the Annankatu big sports premise prompted by laid-back music. The body is gently being woken from winter mould; the shoulders, hips and ribcage are rotated and dance steps are being traced. Soon a full house jams to West African party music and the corners of mouths start to climb towards the ears.
The event is an Afrobeats Weekend with Annina Tuhkunen. Afrobeats is still a relative newcomer in the Institute’s course program, but the two weeked courses to date have attracted plenty of participants interested in urban afro rhythms. During a two-day course we have time to practise one, longer choreography, train the movement language characteristic to West African dances, jam freely, stretch and even hear about the history Afrobeats. We also learn that the core of these party dances is attitude; everyone is the king or girl boss of the dance floor, but one absolutely must not take oneself too seriously. Some of the moves are pure silliness, so taking oneself too seriously does not even really come to mind. However, the choreography does require concentration in order for the hip-swings, hops and spins to be timed approximately correctly and for them to move in the right directions, but the most important thing seems to be good feeling and the essence of the music. Annina has combined elements from both traditional West African street dances and from modern street dances into the choreography.
The teacher tells us that ’Afrobeats’ is an umbrella term for a multitude of various styles from both French and English speaking West Africa. This weekend we danced Coupé Décalé, a club dance, which developed in the clubs of Paris form Ivory Coast rhythms, and whose movements have plenty of influences from traditional West African dances: the Congo ndombolo, the Angolan kuduro and hiphop. Coupé Décalé was birthed by Ivory Coast immigrants who came to France in the 2000s. Successful immigrants showcased their achievements through dance, and that included playful strutting, competitiveness and dance battles, known also from hiphop, in which the dancers challenge one another. From France these rhythms soon returned back to Africa and during the 2002 Ivory Coast civil war Coupé Décalé became hugely popular among young people and became a virtual counter force to the insanity of war. Its pioneers are Douk Saga and Molare, who also have a role in the fact that the Coupé Décalé from the early 2000s became known also outside the African Diaspora. Nowadays even in Helsinki there are opportunities to dance at regularily organized Afrobeats clubs. Thus far the English-language Afrobeats, like azonto, seems to be more known in Finland than music in the French language, but thanks to these kinds of courses, various festivals and easy-to-find videos from YouTube, the awareness is on the rise also here in the North.
After the course I stay behind to have a chat with the teacher. Annina’s own background is in West African dances she has danced from the mid 90s. She told me she found Coupé Décalé about 10 years ago. During those 10 years she has also witnessed the rise in popularity of the Afrobeats phenomenon, especially among young people, on her regular trips to Africa. She reminds me that Afrobeats is not be confused with the classical, funk-like Afrobeat (without the letter s) style of music, which the Nigerian Fela Kuti developed already in the early 60s. The modern Afrobeats dances are in constant flux; movements are borrowed from other disciplines and traditional dances, they are fused, and certain styles become a trend for a while only to fade away soon after. In the modern world the use of smart devices has made fast as lightning communication possible. Anyone can film cool dance moves with their own phone and videos donwloaded on the internet can achieve large audiences in a heartbeat. One interested in the subject may want to write ”coupe decale” into the YouTube search field to get an idea of what this kind of dancing looks like (there are also a few examples at the end of this article). And if one is wondering whether Afrobeats is a fit to oneself, one may gain encouragement from this video, where they dance to Nigerian Yemi Alada’s song Johnny.
After the course one feels sweaty, but light and satisfied. Despite the frost and persistent ice outside the Helsinki summer seems to be one step closer.
Some videos to set the mood:
Molare – Fouttement (Ivory Coast)
Serge Beynaud – Kababléké (Ivory Coast)
Debordo Leekunfa – Robot Macador (Ivory Coast)
Toofan – ”GWETA” (Togo)
FUSE ODG ft TIFFANY – Azonto (UK / Ghana)
Yemi Alade – Bum Bum (Nigeria)
Text: Venla, the Institute of Adult Education in Helsinki
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Etkö ehdi harrastaa arki-iltaisin? Ehkä päivä- tai viikonloppukursseistamme löytyy tähän ratkaisu!
My drawing history is the usual: as a child drawing was my favourite hobby and I could spend countless hours immersed in the world of drawing, not hearing or seeing anything around me. My promising hobby stopped during school years, since the school art classes rarely offered scintillating inspiration. I went in search for inspiration on the course ”In the Garden – an Intensive Course in Drawing”, because independent drawing just didnt’t take wind. You can certainly start with white copy paper and a HB stub you dug out of your pencil case, but one can open up a whole new world by simply getting to know different sorts of paper and hardness of pencils. When looking for inspiration, the subject matter is of primary importance. If it doesn’t inspire you, waiting for an excellent result is futile. As our course teacher Eeva-Maija Priha noted: when you force your doing it shows and it doesn’t look good.
The weekend started with an overview into the history of drawing plants. Simultaneously we got to see the teacher’s own works and diary-like sketchbooks. We briefly familiarized ourselves with drawing equipment by experiementing and asking questions. On Satuday morning our small, but wildly enthusiastic group met in front of the Winter Garden. The place was ideal and charmed us by its scents alone. We started by doing quick sketches of trees outdoors, after our teacher first demonstrated the method. The most difficult thing about drawing plants and scenery is making the abundace plain. How to bring out the essence of a tree without being too detailed? For this problem quick sketching seemed like an excellent learning method. Eeva-Maija adviced us to pick a simple model at first, even a single leaf, so indoors I picked a branch, which appealed to me with its curving forms. For the rest of the day I sketched details of a luscious clivias. At the end of the day it was interesting to see others’ works and hear what kind of feelings arose in the students. The teacher said that we each had out own, unique line and that it really showed in the works.
If Saturday seemed like a fumbling prelude, on Sunday we really got going. This time we went to the Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden and started the day by doing quick sketches of plants. It was surprisingly fun and efficient: the eye quickly learned to pick out the essentials. After this the subject was free. I chose a pond of water lilies as a challenge, to learn how to simplify. The abundance of the subject matter tired me out pretty quickly, so for the rest of the day I focused on quick sketches. The best works turned out to be those I thought I would only sketch in passing.
The sun caressed us for the whole weekend and brought its own additions into our drawing with the ever changing lights and shadows. We had lunch outdoors in the sunshine while discussing art. Eeva-Maija was a lovely and supporting teacher, and she circled around encouraging everyone. The course was aptly informal, we each got to pick our subjects and places accoring to our preferences. If one wished, it was possible to go to a place hidden from view, if someone felt disturbed by surrounding people and curious looks. Creative doing is most fun when it sucks you in completely. The surrounding world disappears and other things lose their meaning when what you are doing is interesting enough. Time passes by more quickly than usual, but without the sense of hurry. Even eating can easily be forgotten.
”In the Garden – an Intensive Course in Drawing” turned out to be the crown jewel of my spring courses. I got a concentrated dose of inspiration with it. I found some unexpected aspects of myself as a drawer and my inner critic was silenced: you don’t have aspire for a great outcome all the time. When one draws freely, without thinking too much, the outcome may turn out to be a positive suprise. One’s thoughts about drawing became surprisingly clear during such a short course. I found a new sense of perception and, most importantly, a new point of view: how to look at things and what to choose for portrayal. One doesn’t need to stick to only one style and one can draw the same subject in various ways. In addition to the joy of learning new things the course put me in a good mood. An aesthete like me could scarcely think of anything better than informal and relaxed drawing in a beautiful and fragrant environment. Inspired by the course I may also in the future be found in the midst of the verdancy of gardens, immersed in my sketchbook and dreams.
You only have to type the word ”yoga” to a search engine to get an idea on the images that are sold to us with yoga. Practising yoga is promised to bring calmness, peace, harmony, happiness and of course a perfect, toned body. Colourful yoga leggings are now fit for even formal meetings and western people make minute-by-minute plans to fit a yoga class into their hectic weekly schedule. The yoga trend doesn’t seem to be on the decline. On the contrary, yoga is constantly being talked about everywhere, and everyone including celebrities and pensioners are practising it. In addition to the many yoga studios, one cozier than the next, yoga is now being offered in every dance school, institute of adult education and service center, and new, trendy yoga modalities pop up all the time. In Helsinki schools you can find äijäjooga (Yoga for Men), Hot yoga, Aerial Yoga, Senior Yoga, Acroyoga, Beer Yoga, Rap Yoga, Maternity Yoga, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Yin and Vinyasa.
Ashtanga Yoga teacher Anni Rainio; how far from the Indian yoga tradition have the new yoga trends moved? Is there some sort of umbrella term over this multiplicity of different modalities, under which all these subcategories reside?
I believe that the different modalities are interconnected by the notion of training and mastering the mind and movement, which is performed in synch with the breath. Yoga is a holistic modality, which does not focus on training certain muscles and muscle groups or what the movement looks on the outside, but rather the focus is in feeling the body and one’s own practice. People have various reasons for starting yoga, but often the reasons to start are the willingness to improve one’s concentration, increase harmony and broaden body awareness.
You teach ashtanga yoga – why did you pick that?
Ashtanga feels most familiar to me. Its dynamic nature challenging the body and the mind got me hooked. Teaching ashtanga can be very challenging because of its very precise systematic nature. I like to teach beginners’ courses, so I can properly guide the students to get to know the basics of the modality.
Could you tell us a little about your own yoga background?
I started yoga at 14 with Hatha Yoga and moved into Ashtanga a few years later. The hobby was in an on-off state until 2015, when I found Ashtanga again while living in Nepal. I studied to become a yoga teacher in India and started to teach basics soon after. Presently my yoga practise entails a morning Ashtanga practise either at home or at a studio. Ashtanga can sometimes feel challenging, so I might need a counterbalance from other types of practises. This is why I alternate between Ashtanga and a more Vinyasa-type practise, during which I listen to my body and pick the asanas that feel good on that particular day. In addition I meditate and do breathing excercises, pranayama.
The commercialization of yoga has clearly brought yoga a massive amount of new practitioners. Do you see this as a positive thing?
The rising interest in yoga is a positive thing, but trendiness is also a cash-collecting mechanism, which I think is somewhat contradictory to the basic principles of yoga. There are yoga studios in Helsinki, which take different income levels into consideration and I also think it is good that the institutes of adult education offer affordable yoga classes. As a yoga teacher I might do some pro bono work on my own terms and in a schedule that suits me, because I think that yoga should be accessible to all. Of course it must be remembered that generally also yoga teachers need decent pay for their work.
There is a lot of talk about cultural appropriation. Even Helsingin Sanomat made a polemic heading for its yoga story: ”A Ritual of Hindu Priests Has Become a Super Popular Sport”. Is yoga about the exoticization of the Hindu tradition?”
I once asked a holy man in Nepal what he thought about me teaching yoga as a westerner. He just advised me to be myself, and did not see my background as problematic in view of teaching. The very next morning I was invited to the same temple to teach a yoga class to a group of local men. I think the conversation about cultural appropriation has become ever more important with globalisation, and it is important to know the background of phenomena. I think that things must have room to develop. For example, following all features of the Hindu yoga tradition (practising at sunrise or sunset, as an example) is quite impossible in Finland, firstly because of weather conditions and differences in the amount of light. It is also noteworthy that in India yoga has become a cherished practice of the nation only after ir circled back to its roots through the Western countries. Yoga produces good health for so many people that it should not be a practice just for a small group. Yoga teaches universal humanness, love and equality, which I think serves as a justification for the fact that all who wish to do so should be able to practise it.
What does yoga offer that other sports don’t?
You can reach the feeling of total focus in dance, paiting and anything else. In other hobbies this focus can be achieved as ”an aside”, but in yoga this is the primary goal. This state can be called by different names: zen, flow or consciousness of your own body and emotions.
Who is yoga for?
Yoga is for anyone interested in body consciousness and mind mastery. It is very good that there is such a wide selection from äijäjooga (Yoga for Men) on, so that everyone can find their own angle into it. For example ashtanga is not for everybody because of its physicality and quickish pace, but from the various yoga modalities one can surely find a one that fits.
To finish, please advertise your own classes.
Ashtanga classes are suitable for all who want to challenge themselves and increase body control and mind mastery. The ashtanga practise is quite strong and it demands some muscle tone. After Christmas there is a new beginners’ group, which you can join even if you have not practised yoga before. Advanced beginners’ class in turn is for those, who have started my classes in the autumn, or have done some Ashtanga before. On this class we continue with asanas from the primary series of Ashtanga.
”A Ritual of Hindu Priests Has Become a Super Popular Sport – Modern Yoga Has Kept a Pinch of Its Original Exoticism, but Can It Still Be Called Yoga?” (”Hindupappien rituaalista on tullut supersuosittu jumppalaji – nykyjooga on säilyttänyt ripauksen alkuperäistä eksotiikkaansa, mutta voiko sitä enää kutsua joogaksi?”) Helsingin Sanomat, September 23, 2017, read on October 19, 2017.
Text: Venla, The Institute of Adult Education in Helsinki
Pictures: Anni Rainio and Paula Bigler
That time of the year when the evenings feel darker by the day and when you have to look for gloves to put on before you go out came about surprisingly quickly. The return to routine is imminent and the brain and the body relaxed by summer need a little boost to take on the darkness of the autumn. An excellent remedy for this is, of course, an institute of adult education with its hundreds of hobby opportunities. I have tried to fit a language course in my schedule along with my dance and sports courses every year, so that also the brain could enjoy some exercise. Last year the language I chose was Russian, the basics of which I had already studied some years ago, but I saw fit to sign up for the beginners’ class again. So this year I continued my studies with an advanced beginners’ class.
Russia has interested me for a long time first and foremost because it is geographically close to us, but also for its unfathomably rich culture. After a few trips to Russia my motivation for studying the language has increased more after I have noticed that the other languages I know are not of mentionable help especially when travelling outside the more touristy places. The inability to speak and understand the local language has made communications and moving around clumsy and awkward. And contrary to the situation in Finland, the Russians don’t seem to fret about their inadequate English, but rather they are astonished about the poor language skills of the clueless tourist. When travelling in Russia the most vexing thing has been the fact that even though I feel a closer cultural cohesion with the Russians than, for example, Spaniards, my inadequate language skills inevitably make me an outsider. At the end of the day language is the crucial key to understanding cultural identity and it also opens up a new way of thinking. For example the absence of the copula (linking verb, most often ’be’) inevitably skews our conventional way of perceiving language.
It seems it is high time that this fine language would gain more respect here in Finland as well, not least for the fact that we share a border. We travel to Sweden and Estonia all the time, but Russia is still quite an unknown country for many Finns. On the other hand, there are more and more people with a dual citizenship living in Finland, and Russian tourism to Finland has recently picked up after the rate of the ruble became stronger. Russian culture has and will always have a lasting influence on Finnish culture, language and society.
Moving Forward Letter by Letter, Word by Word
Even though I master the Cyrllic alphabet on a rudimentary level, it seems that fluent reading and writing is lightyears away. The slow spelling of the alphabet and intently writing word by word makes one ponder on the whole concept of being able to read and write. Us western Europeans quite often become fixated on the concept that one measures reading ability by mastering the Latin alphabet, and only by taking basic Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Korean, Arabic or Hindi do we appreciate that when it comes to reading and writing we are in an equal position with the immigrants who we consider illiterate. Adopting Russian has undoubtedly been slower than any other language I have studied so far, but it also rewards with small insights from time to time. That feeling when you can write multiple words in a row without mistakes! And how wonderful it is to realise that you can single out familiar words from the streams of conversation that flow past you on the street! Not to mention loanwords! Of course I have always known that the traditional Helsinki dialect has an abundance of Russian loanwords (sontsa = umbrella, kohmelo = hangover, lafka = firm, murju = dump, etc.), but I was pleased to find that in addition to the Helsinki dialect there were loanwords in the vocabulary of my late, totally Finnish-speaking Karelian grandmother (a vot = so there, koussikka = ladle, tsaiju or saijju*= tea). And how often do we really come to think that everyday words, such as ikkuna (= window), lusikka (= spoon), kuljeskella (= wander about), tuumailla (= ponder) and tavara (= thing) emanated into our language from our eastern neighbour. The attitude towards the Russian language may be sour in certain circles because of historical reasons, the Russian political situation and human rights violations or just because of general stupidity and racism, so one can only hope that the language and the culture could be seen as separate from Putinism, religious fanaticism and nationalism. My short-term goals regarding the Russian language are, for now, quite moderate and practical, but in the long term my goal is, of course, to be able to read Pushkin in its original language, during enjoying my retirement at the latest!
* Saijju, tsaiju and tsaikka mean tea in the eastern Finland dialects (Russian чай [tšaj]). The picture above is cabbage soup, though (editor’s note).
Text and pictures: Venla, The Institute of Adult Education in Helsinki
What are little voodoo dolls made from? Pearls and silver yarn, copper and seashells, chains and strings. And of course from the flight of imagination and a relaxed disposition. At least, for me.
The course ”Make Your Own Voodoo Doll Jewel” must have appealed to my twisted sense of humour, although voodoo itself is not among my interests. My first thought was: can such a course actually exist? I just had to test it, out of sheer curiosity.
During the course no time was wasted on pondering voodoo religion, spirits or black magic, but the focus was on doing. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the doll could also be positive. I had secretly decided before the course that that is exactly what I am going to make. This is purely because I have no-one in my life I would like to poke with needles and even if there was, I think I would not dare. First the teacher told us about different options and techniques, and presented different kinds of dolls. The supplies were laid out on tables for the admiring and the choosing. The cost of materials was quite reasonable and it was based on the amount of supplies used. Different kinds of metal wire were used for making the body of the doll, one could twirl the wire into shapes to please one’s own eye. One could add pearls, thread, chain and even tassels, and shape out a head to hang around your neck, or a bracelet. On the day before the course I had dug out from my cupboard all sorts of handicrafts and sewing materials I had compiled over the years, the main use of which had so far been collecting dust. Now they were almost literally given a new life.
Silence descended quickly into the handicrafts room when everyone focused on their doll. I personally like tinkering with my hands and since there were no specific aims or a goal, I did what popped into my mind and tried out different techniques. I started to twirl thread and pearls without much thinking. There was no need to look for inspiration, the lovely things laid out on the table took care of that, and time simply flew by. I put a chain on my doll so I could hang it around my neck. Since only the sky and one’s imagination were the limits, on the second day I got inspired to twirl a vivid bracelet out of silver wire, and molded a little doll to hang from it. In addition I sawed miniature squares from gold-coloured metal with a jigsaw and added a heap of pastel coloured glass pearls. The atmosphere of the course was relaxed and playful, some even tried to get the dolls to dance with each other. At other times the focus was on tinkering with music playing in the background. Soile Rautanen was a helpful and inspiring teacher. She also developed ideas forward, if a student’s imagination took a break. Making voodoo dolls was fun and relaxing work. The course might also serve as some kind of therapy, since according to the teacher the central theme of the course was to focus negative thoughts on one object.
I have to admit that my own jewels ended up like the handicrafts materials I had accumulated: they have stayed in the drawer, gathering dust. That in itself is allowed, though, because you can make a doll for the sole purpose of being placed in the back of a drawer. At the height of summer I am going to dig out my imposing bracelet from the drawer to shine with the sun. This is exaclty the usage I had planned for it on a weekend in March.
Written by Heini
Make Your Own Voodoo Doll Jewel course will be arranged again in the autumn! Look up information here and sign up from August 7 onwards.
I am one of the thousands of city-folk, who dream about a luscious and prosperous balcony, roof top of terrace culture, planting boxes in parks and on yards, and guerilla cultivation in the nearby forest. From the urban dream balcony one collects herbs, salads and tomatoes for cooking and at the end of summer one lifts hefty potatoes from the planting boxes. In the best case scenario there are crops left over for the autumn: kitchen shelves are filled with pretty herb jars and the freezer is bursting with kale and strawberries harvested from the balcony.
I know some Helsinkians who have succeeded in city cultivation immaculately, but I believe I speak for many when I confess that the yields of my balcony are in the end quite symbolic despite the great enthusiasm and industriousness for cultivation. Time, energy, care and memory don’t always bend to the plants’ demands, and the species-specific instructions often go unnoticed. Aporia takes over the balcony cultivator’s mind, ant the plants themselves don’t provide satisfactory answers for withering away. For the failures it is easy to blame the wrong orientation of the balcony, the weather or the neighbour in charge of watering the plants. The disappointments about chilies filled with aphids, salad leaves dead from dryness, tomato seedlings without fruit and chives arms thin as thread are all well forgotten during the long winter and the new growing season is always approached with powerful optimism. This spring the optimism may be somewhat grounded, because after the Institute’s course on balcony and terrace plantation I was so enthused that I could hardly wait to open the soil sacks I heaved on the balcony, and start to scoop the black soil into jars and boxes of different sizes. Gardener Marko Ahola had arrived from Ostrobothnia to Helsinki to guide us clueless city-folk into the secret world of cultivation. The lecture introduced an enormous amount of information from pot selection and the pre-growing of seedlings to the multiple uses of herbs and the wintering of plants. The overarching theme of the evening was that in principle you can grow any species of plants on the balcony or terrace, even fruit trees and berry bushes, as long as you take care of sufficient supply of nutrients, warmth, light and moisture.
With Ahola’s guidance we went over the most common plants suitable for balcony cultivation and the most important tips in their care. The course focused most on useful plants, which was a pleasant emphasis, at least for me. The teaching encouraged participation and with that the listeners opened up to share their own triumphs and failures and asked for tips for the coming summer. We progressed swiftly, and the thick pile of study material helped to remember it all later as well. I had multiple aha-moments during the course, starting from the fact that I have not understood the importance of fertilization before. The gardener advised us to fertilize even daily, if we wished to have at least some kind of crops. The best fertilizer is liquid fertilizer mixed with water, but also used coffee grinds are a good mix for the plant water.
There is still a way to go until self-sufficiency, but I believe my own cultivation success will somewhat improve in the following summer. By trial and error I have also learned that for certain plants the light on my balcony is simply not sufficient, so I will no longer forcibly attempt to grow warmth-loving tomatoes, chilis and sunflowers on my shady and windy open balcony, but will rather focus on herbs, cabbages and salads, which like the partial shade.
Lastly a checklist on the most important things from the course:
- You can buy seedlings straight from garden centres, if your time or patience does not permit sprouting seeds.
- Condition the seedlings grown indoors gradually to outside weather conditions, the best way to succeed is to keep them out for a longer period of time each day and bring them indoors for the night.
- It is beneficial to perforate or drain the pots that do not have a hole in the bottom. Small stones and pot pieces prevent the water from engorging and the roots from rotting.
- The best time to water plants is in the mornings before 8 or in the evenings after 9. Always use stagnant water for watering! Pour water preferably on plates, it is easier for the the plants to suck up the water through their roots.
- Fertilization with every watering promotes flowering and crop forming.
- Salad easily collects air pollution, so at the balcony it should be situated on a lower level, and put other plants on the upper levels to shield the sensitive salads.
- If possible, don’t grow tomato and cucumber next to each other, because tomato wilts the cucumber (the same is true about their storage in the kitchen!).
- Herbs and salads grow to be more bushy, the more you trim them.
- You can help plants to pollinate by tapping their flowers with a pen.
I wish a verdant summer to all my co-cultivators!
You can obtain tips for understanding the inner life of plants and seeds for spring from Hyötykasviyhdistys (Useful Plant Association) ja Maatiainen ry. Dodo ry. is an expert in sustainable city cultivation.
Written by: Venla Rainio, The Institute of Adult Education in Helsinki
The Institute of Adult Education in Helsinki Services and Administration Planner Heini tests the Institute’s courses. This time, Cloud Course.
You may not achieve happiness by reaching for the clouds, but watching them is surely fascinating. It is best when done lying down the grass or on a sandy beach, on a warm summer day. Something akin to that was on offer indoors on the Cloud Course at the Institute. In the 2010s the words ”cloud course” can bring to mind strange associations. At least for me, the first thing that rose to mind was not the sky, but information technology. Luckily this course focused on real, actual clouds. They told the course was aimed at, for example, boaters, bird enthusiasts, landscape painters, cloud buffs and for those interested in weather and meteorology. I do cloudwatching for purely aesthetical reasons and also because the clouds floating across the sky have the same effect on the mind as meditation or mindfulness. I have also experiened mild desperation on a painting course when I thought that my artistry produced clouds in somewhat strange shapes and colours, but my later investigations have shown that those kinds on clouds also exist. In fact, they turned out to be quite decent cumulus clouds.
We watched pictures of clouds on the screen with the guidance of Senior Meteorologist Sari Hartonen. On the first meeting we got acquainted with high and medium clouds, and on the second the lower clouds, according to their altitude of appearance. At the same time we talked about the weather and its phenomena: what the clouds tell us and how we can predict the weather in the next few hours with their help. The main focus was watching pictures at a relatively high speed and in my opinion the course is maybe best suited for a cloud admirer like me. As an aside we also gained a lot of information, which left titillating details in my mind. For example, did you know that clouds are divided into families? Or that the airplane conrails are classified as cirrus clouds? Or that fog is just clouds upon the surface of the Earth? No wonder that in addition to clouds, I also like the fog.
It was interesting to hear that clouds can be deduced to be part of certain families by using a charmingly quaint method, measuring by finger. So a very handy cloud measuring device is always at hand. However, the results are not an exact science, because for one, fingers are of various width, so Hartonen suggested to take this method with a grain of salt. The classification of clouds can sometimes be difficult, because one type can be in transition to another one. Usually there are multiple kinds of clouds floating across the sky. One of the most fascinating ones is an altocumulus, which can sometimes resemble a flying saucer. After the course I now know that the ”UFO cloud” that baffled Sweden was a member of this family.
My personal favourite is perhaps cumulus humilis, a cumulus cloud of lovely weather. Light and carefree, floating across the sky like a cotton ball, not threatening my summer day in any way, but rather adorning it with its jovial appearance. Even though ”humilis” means ”of no or little significance”. For me it has a great meaning as an aesthetic joy of my summer days and a reminder of how unique the Finnish summer and its few hot weather days are. The message of the cumulus humilis is ”carpe diem, you are here for only a moment, as am I”. The most fascinating thing about clouds is their ever-changing shapes and their beauty, their out-of-reachness. While you look away, the cloud has already changed from a poodle to a dragon. You cannot grasp or touch, but you can admire and let your imagination fly. In Hartonen’s words, ”clouds are ever-changing beings” and because of that, oh, so enchanting.
Written by: Heini
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