Sunday, 26 August 2012

Jyväskylä: messages by the lakeshore

I descend from the main campus of University of Jyväskylä to the Mattilanniemi campus which is by lake Jyväsjärvi - just what I need. A view to the lake, sitting on the bench which is almost hidden among the bushes. The lakeview includes the lovely footbridge leading to Ylistönrinne on the other side of the lake - and more university buildings.
However, I get an itch for a walk a bit further along Rantaraitti, the footpath round lake Jyväsjärvi. I am further encouraged by the white sign by the side of the road. Unelma näyttää suunnan. A dream shows the way.
The sign is a temporary one, put up by Occupy Jyväskylä camp that is about to disappear soon after their event is over.
The evening is approaching and I wasn't actually thinking of a longer walk today - I'm wearing light canvas shoes, not sneakers - so I wonder if I really feel like going round the whole lake (about 12,6 km). The second temporary sign Unelmasta energiaa, promises Energy from dreams. Alright, I can always change my mind when I'm almost halfway, and return via Kuokkala bridge to the city centre.
A gentle soul has drawn a loving message on the pavement. To be noticed as well as walked / cycled / roller skated over. Was it made for someone in particular or for all passers-by?
After passing the Mattilanniemi-Ylistönrinne footbridge I stop to examine some rocks by the side of the footpath. The artwork is called Kiveen kirjoitetut (Written in Stone), made by Aino Kaarina Pajari of messages that she collected from anonymous people. Elä unelmasi. Live your dream. 
Above the advice carved in several stones there is a more temporary work of art, a smiling gentleman attached to a birch. Rain will probably wash the smile off his face soon...
Vapauta mielesi. Free your mind. I decide to free myself for a nice walk around the lake and not head back halfway. Walking makes it easy to free your thoughts to wander here and there. Soon I am past Ainola, Kuokkala bridge. When I reach the gates of the allotment garden, I can discern that there has been writing on the asphalt but the letters are already indecipherable.
Äijälä, Viherlandia. Lake Jyväsjärvi on my left, a motorway on my right, and the center of Jyväskylä a couple of kilometres away. No clear messages in sight for a long time; I ignore the unreadable scribbles on the benches. It is only just before I arrive to Schauman 'castle' close to the city centre that I see the next writing, already fading: Hajotkaa. I wonder, does it mean Disperse! or telling the passers-by to fall to pieces? The word is ambiguous.
The rest of Rantaraitti footpath is surprisingly messageless. At Lutakko, two swimmers get off the lake at the beach, pick up their large towels and step bare-footed across the footpath and enter the apartment building only few meters away. Their wet footprints are another fading message that will soon disappear with the help of the rays of the setting sun. I walked here.

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