Friday, November 15, 2013

FinNALA Newsletter November 17, 2013, Volume 6, Number 3



FinNALA Newsletter

November, 2013, Volume 6, Number 3

Publication of the Finnish North American Literature Association

© November 17, 2013

It’s time to enroll:

2014 Membership for Finnish North American Literature Association (FinNALA)

The Perks of Membership:

·         Receive online access to Kippis! Literary Journal
·         Receive access to the FinNALA Facebook group
·         Get announcements of what’s happening in the Finnish-North American literary community
·         Get online issues of the FinNALA Newsletter

Membership Fee for 2014
·         $20.00 US

By Mail

·         Send your name and address and your membership fee in the form of a check or money order made out to “FinNALA” to the following address:

Beth Virtanen, President
P.O. Box 11
New Blaine, AR  72851 USA


Use your credit card for online payment
·         Visit us at
·         Click on Membership and submit payment with PayPal
·         You don’t need a PayPal account—look for link to pay with your credit card.

FinNALA Website Updated

The FinNALA website is updated. At, you can find the announcement regarding the winners of the 2013 Kippis! contest as well as the link to the contents of the contest issue whose cover is adorned with the artwork of noted American artist C. Ryan Pierce.
            In addition, you can find 2014 renewal information, a new source for Finnish Crime Fiction in translation, and advertising opportunities for your particular needs.
Kippis!  is still taking submissions for our next edition.  Do send us your short story, essay, memoir, poem, or artwork.  We can’t guarantee fame and fortune but, if your work is accepted, you will be read by a thoughtful and sympathetic audience.  Don’t be shy!  Take the leap!  For further information on submission guidelines or to send your work contact gkwuori at hotmail dot com.
Calendar Available From
Institute of Migration

Tilaa Hyvä Joululahja—The Institute of Migration has produced a calendar for the year 2014
(in Finnish and in English).

The calendar’s pictures and photos features Finns abroad.
Price: 5 €/calendar, 3 copies for 10 € + postage.

The calendar can be purchased from our on-line store at the address:

Calendar can also be ordered directly from the institute. Please, contact Ms. Krista Mielimäki:
Documentary to Air
By Steve Lehto
The documentary Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913, will air nationwide on PBS, December 17, at 8:00 p.m. The hour-long film was produced by Jonathan Silvers and Robert Y. Lee of Saybrook Productions and tells the story of the strike which shut down the copper industry in the Keweenaw in 1913.
The most famous event during the strike was the Italian Hall Disaster where 73 people died when a false cry of “Fire!” caused a stampede at a Christmas Eve party for the children of the striking miners. The victims included 59 children; half were Finns. This year will mark the centennial of the tragedy. This is a straightforward historical documentary.
The filmmakers interviewed a host of experts and historians from the Copper Country and elsewhere and utilized a variety of archival material as well. Steve Lehto appears in the film and served as consultant for the project. 

Notable Story Award Goes to G.K. Wuori
G. K. Wuori’s story, “Sasha, That Night,” published in Eclectica Magazine, was recently named a Notable Story in the South Million Writers Award series.  It is his fourth story to receive that recognition.


 Ice Cold Crime

Ice Cold Crime LLC is a publishing house founded in 2009 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota area. Its mission is to originate, translate, publish, and promote Finnish fiction in the United States and other English speaking countries. Its website is:

Titles currently available include the following:

Helsinki Homicide: Cold Trail by Jarkko Sipila
Helsinki Homicide: Nothing but the Truth by Jarkko Sipila
Helsinki Homicide: Against the Wall by Jarkko Sipila
Helsinki Homicide: Vengeance by Jarkko Sipila
Raid and the Blackest Sheep by Harri Nykanen
Raid and the Kid by Harri Nykanen
Wolves and Angels–A Detective Koskinen Novel by Seppo Jokinen
Pet Shop Girls by Anja Snellman
Decay Time--A Wall Street Murder and Morality Tale by Scott Stevenson

FinnFest USA 2013
“The Best Ever!”

Finlandia English professor, Lauri Anderson,
presents to a full house during FinnFest 2013

Visitors and participants of FinnFest USA 2013 showed their sisu and dismissed the less than perfect weather as a minor inconvenience. Nearly 8,000 national and international visitors converged upon the Copper Country to take it all in: performances, lectures, demonstrations, tours, art exhibits, two tori markets, and much more. Credit to its success goes to Finlandia University, Michigan Technological University, the cities of Hancock and Houghton, volunteers, donors, and the incredible hospitality of the Copper Country.


Outdoor Tori on the Quincy Green in Hancock

The Official
Commemorative DVD
Only $21.99 plus tax (shipping & handling extra)
by Early Spring Productions
Call (906) 482-6087 or visit to order!

15th Annual Sibelius Academy Music Festival
Featured Concerts and Dance

This year’s Sibelius Academy Music Festival took place September 22-27 in Chicago, Negaunee, Hancock, and Calumet, and featured classical accordionist Ari Lehtonen and the jazz/folk group “August Saarinen & Vuolas Virta.”
            In addition to several outstanding concerts, a folk dance, with live music provided by the musicians, took place on the newly installed wooden floor at Finlandia University’s Finnish American Heritage Center. 
            The 16th annual Sibelius Academy Music Festival will take place September 21-26, 2014, with venues and musicians to be selected in the spring of 2014.
Sibelius Musicians provided live music for first-ever
Sibelius Academy Music Festival Folk Dance
Road Scholars Enjoy a Finnish-American
Experience in the Copper Country
Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) participants visited the Copper Country to immerse themselves in the Finnish-American heritage of the area, and to attend concerts and a dance featuring the Sibelius Academy Musicians. The program, sponsored by Finlandia University, included lectures, museum tours, folk dance and kantele workshops, Finnish cooking demo, field trips to Hanka Homestead and Copper Harbor and concluded with the grand finale concert at the historic Calumet Theatre.
            The 2014 Road Scholar program, which will take place September 22-27, will feature similar activities and events. Information will be available for the 2014 program in the spring.

Group photo of Road Scholars and Sibelius Musicians
 taken at Ft. Wilkins State Park in Copper Harbor
Finn Fun Festival

Here are Kaarina Brooks (from the FinNALA Advisory Board)
and Sirpa Kaukinen (FinNALA Newsletter Assistant Editor)
 at this summer’s Finn Fun Festival in Sudbury, Ontario

This Fall at Sointula
By S T Kaukinen
One hundred years ago, Matti Kurikka, a Finnish journalist, newspaper editor and a theosophist, founded the utopian socialist colony of Sointula (Place of Harmony) on Malcolm Island in British Columbia.  An agreement was drawn up between the province and Matti Kurikka and the Kalevan Kansa Finns (Kaleva Folk Finns).  It was hoped that three hundred and fifty Finnish men and their families could be found to establish and work in this colony.  
Kurikka founded the Aika (Time) newspaper to make the community and his ideas known to Finns in North America and Finland.  By the end of 1903 a saw and a planing mill were in operation and construction of homes and a school was begun.  However, Kurikka’s poorly planned financial tenders for work, and his ideas of free love caused disruption in the community and by 1904 Kurikka left Sointula with his staunchest followers.  By 1905 the utopian community had ended but many of the residents remained.1
To mark this year the Masala Youth Theatre Group, from Kirkkonummi in Finland, produced and performed in Finland a play called Sointula for a year.  This September the group arrived in Sointula to put on the last performance of the play for the descendants of the original Sointula residents.  The writer and one of the directors of the play, Tuomo Aitta, the other director, Hannele Tuominen, and the producer Mika Kaartinen travelled with the group of actors.2 
It was reported by journalist Annika Martikainen in the Kanadan Sanomat that the eight hundred residents of the Sointula community welcomed the group with open arms and everyone was given accommodation in local homes.  It was also reported by those present that the young group put on an energetic and highly skilled performance.3
The play was part of a seminar, Culture Shock, September 21 – 22nd, 2013, where adjunct professor of anthropology Dr. Edward Dutton, from the Oulu University in Finland, was the keynote speaker.  Other utopian communities in North and South America were examined also as a part of the seminar.  Canadian anthropologist Kalervo Oberg (1901-1973), a former resident of Sointula, developed the culture shock theory involving distinct stages. Ms. Tellervo Lahti, a representative of the Migration Museum at Peräseinäjoki in Finland, also attended and spoke about the museum.

Bibliography – Sources - Books - Finnish 
1 - Raivio, Yrjö:  Kanadan Suomalaisten Historia.  New West Press Co. Ltd., Vancouver, B.C. 1975.

Newspaper - Finnish
2, 3 & 4 - Kanadan Sanomat, with permission from reporter Annika Martikainen, Oct 1, 2013 issue.

Internet – English
4 & 5 - Sointula Ripple - Culture Shock.             

Life is an Amazing Song
By John (Juha) Raikkone
Life is an Amazing Song is a memoir about growing up in Finland during the Finnish-Russian war from 1939 to 1945 and beyond. Described by a reader as “a humorous and serious tale…this book left me wanting for more.” This poignant story describes the experiences of a young boy living at his grandparents’ farm in Oulu, North Finland during the war. A thrilling memoir, Life is an Amazing Song is steeped in the tradition of Angela’s Ashes, My Life as a Dog (Swedish book) with a hint of Tom Sawyer.
Books purchased on web site will be autographed by the author.

ISBN: 1453735100 300 pages. Rated five stars in the National Press. Edited by: Mike Valentino Reviewed by: Jean Purcell, Siggy Buckley, Laila Sullivan, and others.



The New Orphic Review
By Ernest Hekkanen and Margrith Schraner
Ernest Hekkanen and Margrith Schraner published Volume 16, Number 2 of The New Orphic Review. The theme was Entropy. In his editorial Hekkanen argued that, “Entropy is sown into each and every system, and our conduct is often determined by our subliminal awareness of this fact, be it on or off the page.”

Elsie at Ebb Tide:
Emerging From the Undertow of Alzheimer’s
By Barbara Erakko
Elsie Nurmi, 3rd generation Finn, begins school in rural Minnesota speaking no English. Yet she becomes a U.S. Protocol Officer leading delegations overseas using presidential aircraft. She attends coronations, and meets popes and queens. When diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she begins her most dreaded—yet transcendent—journey.
As Alzheimer’s diminishes her mind, she begins to connect in a different way.  Against a rich background of Finnish heritage, Elsie and her daughter explore the deepest communication possible:  soul to soul.
Available at  or ($14.95 paper/$5.99 Kindle)

Spice of Life Specialty Foods
Presents: Common Sense Cooking
By Edith Maki


Author's culinary journey: I grew up in a large family on a farm in the country where we grew our own food and cooked from scratch. After high school graduation, I spent a year living in Finland as a kotiapulainen (home-helper) where I made my acquaintance with authentic Finnish foods.  As a wife and mother I got to fine-tune recipes from those earlier years which I then shared in a cooking column for our local newspaper.  In 2003, I operated a deli/bakery, where the items we offered our customers were made using some of our favorite recipes found in this book - ENJOY!

Creative Contributions
Prose, Poetry, & Memoir

Pancakes and Bobby Pins
By Diane Dettmann

My mother, Esther (Kaurala) Elleson was born in Ely, Minnesota in 1918. She was the daughter of Paul and Hilja Kaurala who arrived in America from Finland in 1913. Growing up on a farm in Babbitt, Minnesota, my mother and her six siblings learned to live close to the land and appreciate the simple things in life. Surviving the “Great Depression” took sisu and determination. In 1939 she left the farm with her older sister, Miriam, and took the train to St. Paul, Minnesota. Six years later, my mother married Harold Elleson and they moved to Minneapolis where they started a family. Esther passed away in May of 1986 just days before her 67th birthday. In the following essay, I share reflections and memories of my mother’s life. 
My mother tapped into her creativity and Finnish sisu after her first child was born in Minneapolis in 1945, and I appeared two years later. Even though WWII had ended, many families still struggled to make it, ours included. Thank goodness, growing up on the farm, my mother had learned how to remake clothes, reupholster furniture, create one-pot meals out of a meat bone and vegetables, and redesign flour sacks into crib sheets. Pancakes were a cheap breakfast staple. She fixed them so often that even now when I open her 1943 Good Housekeeping Cookbook it automatically falls open to the “Griddle Cake” recipe on page 490 that’s falling out in spite of the scotch tape she used to keep it in place. With ingenuity and perseverance, she turned that little bungalow at 1313 39th Avenue North into a warm and comfortable home, a place where we felt loved and secure.
In May of 1986, I sat in a funeral home chapel on a hard wooden bench surrounded only by my family, thinking about my mother, her life and her death. The minister asked if anyone cared to share a story about Esther. The silence flowed over our bowed heads and sniffles until my sister talked about the flowers and gardens Mom enjoyed planting—the soil, sun and lake shore her constant gardening companions. After my sister sat down, I stood up and shared my fondest memory—my mother pinning my hair up in pin curls, a nightly event. As I spoke, I could see my mother sitting on the couch with a rat-tail comb in her hand, a glass of water to moisten my hair, and me dressed in my pajamas handing her bobby pins one at a time. I realize now that pin curl time was much more than binding my straight brown hair into curls. It was “our time” together to talk, problem solve and bond as mother and daughter. Images of flowers in bloom, bobby pins and rat-tail combs still trigger memories of my mother and always will.

Diane is the author of Twenty-Eight Snow Angels: A Widow’s Story of Love, Loss and Renewal, recently selected “The Beach Book Festival” runner-up” in the autobiography category. The book’s available at Also, read more about Diane’s mother, Esther, and her Finnish family in Miriam Daughter of Finnish Immigrants (Dettmann/Dloniak). This family memoir is in the process of being translated into Finnish.
Both books available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in e-book and paperback:

Saari Mökki
(Island Cabin)
By Joanne Bergman

My saari mökki on Lake Vermilion in Minnesota began in 1972 as a 12’ x 16’ camp shack with shuttered openings but no windows. My brother Merv built it on leased land with his buddy Dr. Herb Pick from the University of Minnesota Psychology Department. I bought the camp from the state of Minnesota in 1992.
            My little one-room shelter had a magnificent broad view of the lake and the sunsets, but I had no electricity, no plumbing, no dock, and no telephone. Woody, my barrel stove, dominated the room. One corner was my kitchen: a table, a Sears camp stove that burned gasoline, and a giant Servel gas fridge I nicknamed Bronko Nagurski.
            My brother and a family of his neighbors built a 12’ X 16’ addition, and I then had an almost 400 sq. ft. wooden tent with the whole ceiling papered in a blue-and-white awning stripe.
After a painful experience with a burst appendix, at last I ordered a telephone. And, since I’ve married a city guy, we have electricity.
            We also have a decent dock, a pontoon boat, an authentic Finnish sauna (not sanna!), electric appliances, a flat-screen TV, wifi, and an actual bedroom.
It’s still just a camp, but it’s my pesä paikka, my nesting place.

From the Kalevala
Translated by Hazel Birt

Foreword: For my book, Festivals of Finland, I loosely translated the Fate of Aino poem from the epic Finnish poem Kalevala and illustrated the story with a prize-winning woodcut print of the golden cuckoos. The Kalevala was written in 1835 by Elias Lönnrot, a country doctor who gathered the folktales of Finland into this now world- famous epic poem.
Henry Wordsworth Longfellow’s poem, The Song of Hiawatha, is said to have been influenced by Lönnrot’s ballad-style writing.

The Fate of Aino tells the story of a beautiful young girl being forced by her mother to marry the powerful shaman, Väinämöinen. Dressed in her wedding finery, Aino wanders weeping through the forests until she comes to the sea where she sees mermaids and beautiful fish. She decides rather than marry the old man she will drown herself. Taking off her jewelry and draping her gown a bush she wades out to a golden rock which sinks to the bottom of the sea. Aino turns into a fish.

Thus the young maiden perished 
and the animals wondered who
should go to tell the mother.
It was the hare who bravely went.
Then the mother fell to weeping.
Her bitter tears flowed freely until
she had cried a river on which rose 
 a golden island on which rose 
 three lovely birch trees. In each tree
 a golden cuckoo lamented. 

The first cuckoo cried “Sweetheart, sweetheart!”
The second cuckoo cried, “Lover, lover!”
The third cuckoo cried, “Sorrow, Sorrow!”
And the mother cried forever.

Thus the mother spoke as follows,
 ‘O wretched mother,
 urging vainly thus your daughter
to marry ancient Väinämöinen. 
Heavy beats my heart within me
and my strength has wholly failed me
since I heard the cuckoo calling.
Thus the mother wept forever
lamenting the fate of her Aino.

 Bio: Hazel Lauttamus Birt grew up in New Finland, Saskatchewan. Fluent in the Finnish language she has written several book and illustrated them with her woodcut prints that have won numerous awards. She lives in Winnipeg.


A Timeless Dance
By Barbara Erakko
I wheel my suitcase through the deserted Finnish-American Rest Home lobby, glancing at the unopened Uutiset News.  I hear piano music in the dining hall.  The 12th Street Rag, a favorite with the Finns.
            The music stops.  Fragments of conversation in Finnish, the amniotic fluid I’ve swum in for years, fill the air. Mom looks like a tiny-boned child, her pageboy accenting unusual blue eyes.  They still have fire in them—a flame flicker only seen up close. 
            Her fingers keep a staccato beat as the next song begins.  I stoop down.  "Have you got the key to your room?" Shifting her gaze to me, she answers brightly, "Oh yes I do."
            For the first time, she has not recognized me.
            A new stillness has come into my life.  And with it, the frightening sense that my mother is letting go, forever, of my daughter-child hand.
* * *
            She once traveled around the world on Air Force Two.  On the walls of her room, a dozen famous men and women smile out of their official, personally signed, photographs—President and Jacqueline Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan. 
            An ambitious Finnish-American girl from Floodwood, Minnesota had come to Washington and become a U.S. State Department Protocol Officer.  She met popes, astronauts, kings, princes, queens, and dictators.  She arranged tours, hotels, meals, parades, and handed out endless bouquets at arrival ceremonies to First Ladies.
*  *  *
            Two days later, I let myself into her room.  Curtains drawn, the room looks empty of life.  I sit on the bed, watching as she rests. 
            "Yes, Mom?"
            "I don't know what's wrong with my head.”  She turns to face me.  "Can't you take me to some kind of doctor?  I'm so confused."
            "Mom," I answer, "It's a memory problem.  Your mother had it.  You have it.  I don't think it will go away.  It's your way of getting old."
            I gaze at her tiny fragile body.  Her funny sneakers with rainbow colors on them.  Her white anklets.  The blue skirt with its loose waistband.  Her aged v-neck cotton knit pullover.  Her paper-thin skin with its lines and liver spots.  I try to feel her silent world—the one her mother entered.  "It feels like fog, Barbara." 
            I try to imagine.  A gummy world where thoughts get stuck.  They can't get out.  Trapped in an impenetrable darkening night.  Mind stillfulness.  Around her, people would keep moving and talking, loving and laughing.  But she will be motionless in a vast strange land of inner silence.
            The air conditioner clicks on.  Cool air begins its trek across the room through stifling heat.  I sink into my own silent world—a slow moving river of quiet, filled with its own flotsam of memories.  The Westclox ticks its way like a river barge across the watery world of our minds. 
            Outside women walk by chattering in Finnish. Their voices catapult me into a past of Finnish dances.  Mom firmly holds my little waist.  "Step-slide-step-slide-swing-swing-swing,” she says as the accordion sucks air in, blows notes out. 
            I feel so safe in this cocooned world of words without meaning. 
            I reach over and turn on her tape recorder. A schottische fills the air.
            "Mom,” I ask, opening my arms, “Do you want to dance?”


From Elsie at Ebb Tide: Emerging From the Undertow of Alzheimer’s
Available at  or ($14.95 paper/$5.99 Kindle)


Two Poems
by Michael King


Reflections on Canals

The lights of Suzhou spangle cityscapes on green

canals the tour boat plies.  From aft I watch the wake

ripple clustered tower blocks, tenements, and bars

decked out with neon signs and sprung from concrete banks.

In shoreline parks, where flood lamps next to footpaths cast

columns of emerald up to willows, hedgerows strain

high beams that cruise on streets past iron fences.  Hues

pour through, stream out over the mirror-canvas, as

the prop hurls field grey wash back.  Forward, an emcee

blares top forty hits, coaxes fares to whoop it up,

pose with watery brews.  I lift a jug of bai

jiu, soak my throat with fiery notes the bards of old

passed around.  Under bridges, hums of coupes diffuse

the scents of ether.  In a courtyard paved with jade

that shimmers, outboard motors hush.  The vessel drifts

among reflections of a bare mill’s blued rock walls,

dark patios draped by gnarly trees’ amber leaves,

and algae-covered slabs, deployed to bear low spans,

behind which subtle streams proceed to destinies

beyond the centuries of lotus massed along

the margins.  Strands about the murky passages

confound the helm and current host.  While shallows strew

the slapdash tones of restless passengers, I’m drawn

by shades of roped-off piers before the surface craft. 


Side-by-side at eighty-
five, propelled by four
pistons in a row and two
in a V, our bikes shoot
along a country two-
laner’s curves. 
we crest a hill and snap
the throttles open as, from a slope
ahead, blues blaze,
dash toward us and a park
in the gulley between, where we flap 
denim flags at the floundering
patrol plowing dirt
to turn and pursue. 
                                With our flight
speeds past one-
fifteen, we scorch the grade
and swoop away through sweepers,
fling sparks from foot
pegs.  On straights the trees
look like sticks.  The engines
howl a redline duet,
and escape impends,
                                   but the black
and white threat—tilted,
tossed, and bounced about
by its bulk—probes the mirrors,
so we brake, slide, power
onto an artery.  The traffic
we blitz blocks the caged
At a roundabout we cleave
chaos through gridlock. 
                                        Then we race
to the woods, where we slow to a crawl,
choose a closer course
among the roots that flow
to a stand of pines. 
                                As the sirens
rush beyond, chrome
exhaust pipes and polished
cooling fins crackle,
glaze ferns with sunlight.
Dactylicus at gmail dot com

My Dreamy Bird
By Charles Peltosalo,

I woke up feeling confused, alone, and arranged my silence so I could place feet on floor, face my day.

Before I rolled off my pillow, my Mother’s Shih-tzu woke beside me; petting him and his snug head and fur, the moments bore less menace.

Lifting him to the floor, I watched a cat, a brother from another world, check my bedroom door,

While another darted from his night beneath the bed.

Water put to boil, covers off the birdcages, I faced the loss of my friend Ayla, who didn’t awake

Yesterday on the bottom of his cage- 22 years of defining cockatiel and brother, friend, helper had kept his sleep fixed to his home star where he had flown, was gone.

His one love, green Raja next to him in her 25th year and his bonded mate was upset by his empty cage.

I don’t know what to say to her, but I’m sorry your friend is gone.

I thought:” I’ll be your better friend now. Like you, I need someone close, so we are not alone.”


I went outside to put up some tobacco to the 6 directions in the morning light.

Thoughts were mashed and confused; the past haunted, the future worried, and the present swirled and hurt-

The price of being the center of a wheel churning to gain purchase in the day,

The trance-medium’s blues; separate my feelings from those of others-

Anything out of control is not me, I’m told.

Tobacco gained as smoke went to 4 directions, cutting the cloud around me.

One to the sky, one to the Earth,

Then one to those attached to me, 7 in all.

I felt alone but prayed for Ayla, heard the cardinals pipe up from the dogwoods,

A squirrel high in longneedle pine spied me with his ‘good day’.

A bluejay’s call cut the air as road traffic picked up.

Ayla’s robust winged spirit joined in, landed on my shoulder and reminded me I’m not alone.

I became aware as I stood with my solitary smoke sent to the semicardinal points that

I was surrounded by friendly spirits- the trance-medium’s joy,

I will never be alone.


Yesterday I hiked the beach in front of Ayla’s first home.

When I reached his house and put up some tobacco for him, shoulder-perched and free-flying with me all the walk,

2 cirrus clouds were cockatiel heads in the North who retained their shape for the spirit’s moment, watching us until we made our way home.


The morning he passed, the Carolina Rose, only green leaf and stalk all season,

Sprang 3 blooms, 2 large up high, 1 small tight separate below.

My 3 birds’ medicine reflects in plants, thoughts, clouds…

The day has Ayla flying about its’ core, lighting it from within.

In Memoriam: Terttu Katka,
Poet (1916 – 2003)
By Lisbeth  Holt

She spoke the language of life:

Her lyrics will live forever

Though now she lies mute.

We walked behind her, her family,

Heads bowed, tears flowing -

Our sacred walk of communion –

Solemnly to her altar of death.

Cast aside the garment of dust;

Her spirit released into the ultimate ethers.

          Thor fiercely hurled thunderbolts last night

           And jagged swords of lightning:

           Foretelling these destined hours.

           Now at last she is unafraid.

Rain, incessant, gentle, forgiving, fell;

Absolving all pain, healing all wounds.

Eternal mysteries are now revealed to her,

The divine knowledge.

Now she knows; now she is that mystery.

A dove grey flag is draped across the skies

And we who love her are comforted.

By Lisbeth Holt

This is how a woman should dress

To emphasize her regal origins, she explained.

“Nainen valkoisissa,” a woman in white, for example.

Fabric and form, elegantly cut, is what she intended.

I remember her “taiteilijan takki,” her artist’s coat of bright colors –

A coat which takes a certain woman with certain flair to wear.

I arranged her abundant hair into ringlets crowning her head.

She had the poise, the posture, the pride in herself,

A presence to be reckoned with,

Reminding me of our sacred female legacy…


Ancestral knowledge reveals

We were born daughters of the Queen of Sheba! -

Thus endowed with magnificent powers

To reshape our world with wisdom, skills, generosity.

As such, we are to dress accordingly,

The outer display of regal femininity,

In flowing white, perhaps, or a collage of bejeweled colors.

It is not vanity to proclaim our lineage, our legacy;

It’s our link with destiny to carry ourselves with luminosity,

A presence to be reckoned with!

Have You Heard of...or Attempted to Pronounce...Dzibilchaltun?
By Lizbeth Holt
The mysterious Mayan site of Dzibilchaltun (“the place with writing of flat stones”) lies a mere ten miles from Merida in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Archaeologists believe it had been settled as far back as 500 B.C. and at its zenith, had a population of 40,000. 
The Maya had constructed raised limestone or earthen-filled white roadways called “sacbeob”, some stretching for many miles between cities.  It feels strange to walk on these ancient pathways to enter the site, knowing they were trod over a thousand years ago by those who lived here then.   
Only a few structures have so far been unearthed here, notably the “Sun Temple,” also called the “Temple of the Seven Dolls.” Seven pottery anthropomorphic figures had been discovered within the temple, the only Mayan temple with windows. These “dolls” and other fascinating treasures can be viewed at the Museo Pueblo Maya nearby.  If you don’t speak Spanish, I hope you employ a passionate and entertaining English-speaking guide! Imagine holding hands in a circle as he claps his hands to demonstrate the acoustics.  Do you hear the quetzal answering?
What makes this site especially intriguing?  During the spring and fall equinoxes, the sun disc boldly appears from east to west in the central opening of this observatory.  Multitudes arrive before dawn to witness this spectacle.  This is also precisely when the serpent of light, Kukulcan, descends the side of El Castillo, the great pyramid in Chichen Itza, also in the Yucatan.
The ancient Maya sky-watchers built these fantastic structures to align with the stars!  Strangely enough, these phenomena were not “discovered” until 1982 by Mexican Yucatec archaeologist Victor Segovia Pinto (1907-1986).
Incredibly, Dzibilchaltun also has a lunar orientation!  A full moon glows through the observatory opening between March 20 and April 20; Easter-time!
Incongruously, here stand the ruins of an open chapel built at the time of the conquest with hieroglyph-carved stones from Maya structures...considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Americas.
The Maya considered cenotes (sinkholes) to be entrances to “Xibalba”, the underworld.  Here the clear turquoise Cenote Xlacah, one of the largest and deepest in the Yucatan, tempts explorers to jump in for a refreshing dip. Maya legends suggest it was formed by an enormous thunderbolt! It is believed to merge with a tunnel deep underwater, connecting to miles of underground rivers, emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. 
Once you visit this Mayan site, it will be impossible to forget it.   You may even attempt to pronounce its sacred name: Dzibilchaltun…

travelbylis at aol dot com

Valtajan Makea Tuska
By Eero Sorila
English translation by Sirpa T. Kaukinen

Istun ravintolassa pimenevän illan suussa,                       
matkareitistään tietoinen varis vaakkuu kuusi puussa.
Vaakkuu,ikäänkuin pilkaten eksynyttä vanhaa miestä,
jonka mustaan kahviin tippuu pisara tuskan hiestä.
Hän on paikoillaan pitkään vaikka kupin pohja jo kiiltää,
ujona, ajatus suunnan kysymisestä ikävästi rintaa viiltää.  
Mies on väsynyt vierailla seuduilla eksyksissä kulkemaan,
muttei koskaan liikkuvaa elämäntapaa valmis sulkemaan.
Makea vaeltajan tuska on kuin polttava henkinen tauti,
jota ilman hän ei elämästään koskaan täysin nauti.
Ravintola variksen vaakkuessa vihdoin yöllä hiljenee,
eksynyt vaeltaja pimeään yöhän askeleitaan viljelee.

The Wanderer’s Sweet Suffering
I sit in the restaurant in the early evening,
A crow sure of its course is cawing in the spruce tree.
Cawing, like mocking a lost old man,
Into whose black coffee drips a drop of suffering sweat.
He is still a long time though the bottom of the cup shines through,
Timidly, the thought of asking for direction sadly cuts his breast.
The man is tired of walking lost in strange places,
But never ready to leave his wandering ways.
The wanderer’s sweet suffering is like a burning madness,
Without which he cannot fully enjoy his life.
The restaurant finally calms in the time of the crow’s cawing,
The lost wanderer steps into the dark night again.
Walk in the Park
By Eero Sorila
Ansel Adams once said that a good photograph is made by knowing where to stand. He took his famous black-and-white photograph of Mount McKinley in 1948. I have a burning desire to stand in his footseps and also take a photo of Mt McKinley.
After I talk to a fellow photographer, Henry Jokiniemi, about the project, he wants to join me. Henry is based in Finland, but crossing the Atlantic is a small matter when it comes to following the footsteps of Ansel Adams. So is driving the Alaska Highway.
After driving some 2,500 miles we arrive to the Denali National park entrance at nine o’clock in the morning on September 15th.

            The green Denali bus has already left for Wonder Lake, the area where we need to go for the photo. The next morning, we board the green bus and begin our adventure in Denali. Upon arriving to our spot that day, we didn’t know that the green busses were on their last round before retiring for the winter. Had we arrived one day later, all would have been lost without the possibility of entering the park.
The park opened in 1917, and at almost five million acres, it is bigger than the entire state of Connecticut.
            Due to the potential danger of wildlife, we aren’t allowed to exit the bus to take photos but we can take them through the windows.
An exclamation rises above the rattling bus: “Bear!” A dozen passengers rush to the left side of the bus to photograph a grizzly bear. Luckily the bus does not tip over from the weight on one side. The king of the wilderness looks like he weighs close to nine hundred pounds and mesmerizes everyone in the bus, moving like a bulldozer across the tundra. A full-grown grizzly can run thirty miles per hour. Not exactly, a walk in the park.
Top running speed for humans has been clocked at close to twenty-eight.
It is a reminder of our insignificance in Denali National Park.Walking along a gravel road, surrounded by immeasurable silence we hear the sound of the green bus in the late afternoon. We hop on, bid farewell to Denali and drive away.
            Like the bears, the green busses settle to hibernate until a new spring arrives, when the park wakes up to new life.
            Continuing home, I think about the solitude of Denali, far away from a busy world, a mesmerizing haven of silence. Henry returns to Finland with a good collection of wilderness photos. I also have a few.The experience was a rare walk in the park.
Photos by Eero Sorila
1. Mt. McKinley (Denali), the highest mountain in North America pierces the blue sky at 20,237ft above sea level.

2. Grizzly bear, the king of wilderness is an awesome sight.

In his book, Eero often experienced traveler’s sweet pain as described in the poem.
GREEN MATTRESS UNDER THE STARS  is available from Xlibris: 1-888-795-4274


An adaptation of Kaarlo Kramsu’s “Ilkka.”
Waino W. Korpela

He died upon the gallows but his deeds will long be known
for they’re etched deep in the psyche of Suomi’s gnarled soul. 
No blue blood gave him status-he was just a common man-
but his courage and his sisu left a mark upon the land.
For the Fates decreed that Ilkka would lead the rebel fight
in a failed insurgence against the tyrant’s might.        
It was an age of despots, anguish, doubts and tears
but Jakko Ilkka, yeoman, was a man who conquered fear. 
Knowing that injustice will ever be sustained
unless the ones downtrodden will fight to break the chain.
And those who fight for freedom know the victory lies
near the shore of darkness where heroes bleed and die.
Hence when men were beckoned, Suomi’s men replied
faster than an arrow speeding through the sky. 
Rebellion spread throughout the land with bloody battles fought.
The sacrifice those heroes made must never be forgot. 
With clubs those Finnish farmers fought for what is right
but the tyrant and his army crushed their freedom fight.
Vanquished men were butchered though mercy had been vowed
and Ilkka climbed the gallows, calm, with head unbowed.
And thus the Suomi nation heeds the lesson Ilkka gave:
Death from hanging’s better than living as a slave.

The selection “Ilkka” is taken from the book Finn. Finn includes a history of Finland in verse-each verse documented with actual happenings in Finnish history-and other writings by the author about sisu, the St. Urho legend, growing up in a Finnish-American community and his perspectives on life.  Finn, edited and published by Ernest J. Korpela, can be obtained by calling the editor at 715 742-3349 or email him at   Orders with a check for $14.95 per book can be sent to Ernest Korpela, PO Box 273, Cornucopia, WI 54827.   Free shipping is available through 2013.  In 2014 add $3 for S/H.    

What is a Pasty?
By Terri Martin
First, you need to pronounce it correctly. It has nothing to do with paste or burlesque dancers. Pasty rhymes with nasty. This is not to imply in any way that the pasty is an unpleasant digestive experience. On the contrary, it’s a tasty, humble, and somewhat portable food that doesn’t come in a bun or wrapped in a tortilla.
            As tin mining in Cornwall, U.K. declined, miners came to this country to find a new life. Some landed in Michigan’s U.P., attracted to jobs in the burgeoning copper mines. Along with their mining expertise, the Cornishmen (or more likely, the Cornishwomen) imported with them their pasty recipes. Finnish immigrants, who worked alongside the Cornish, adopted the pasty and it has become strongly associated with the Finnish culture in the Copper Country.
The pasty is a ridiculously simple thing, invented out of need for an economical stick-to-the-ribs meal that could be carried down into the mines in a lunch pail. Chopped, sliced, and diced meat and vegetables make up the filling, which is placed on a flat pastry circle. The pastry is folded into a half- moon shape and the edges crimped to form a seal. After baking, the mouth-watering semicircular pasty emerges, all golden brown and wafting a delectable aroma.
            What is really in a pasty? Some Yoopers tenaciously protect their recipes. Others will be vague—oh, dis and dat, which means whatever is available. Rumor has it that lard is the secret ingredient in the crust. Fear not, in an effort to support heart-healthiness, most pasties have abandoned the use of lard. However, the much maligned rutabaga is often found within the flaky crust of a U.P. Pasty.
            Mind your pasty etiquette, eh? Many like ketchup on their pasties. This is acceptable. Others like gravy, which is also okay. Nobody has ever considered using ranch dressing, mango salsa, or Dijon mustard on a pasty, so don’t ask because to do so would be a sacrilege and possibly punishable by banishment to a foreign country like New Jersey. Then there’s your pasty purist. (S)he will only accept this food sans condiments or doctoring of any kind and may become quite testy when offered ketchup.
So, pass the ketchup—or not—and enjoy!
Happy Holidays
from your
FinNALA Newsletter Editorial Team:

Terri Martin, Editor-in-Chief
Sirpa Kaukinen, Assistant Editor
Beth Virtanen, Publisher