In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Learn more about the project and see all the 365 Nature posts.
Today starts a, hopefully brief, heatwave in Seattle and because I’m adamantly opposed to the heat, we retreated inside for the afternoon. Recently I started reading the Moomin books, by Tove Jansson, to my daughter and it’s our first forage into non-picture books. I wasn’t sure if she’d like sitting and listening, she’s only four, but she really enjoyed the first chapter and now we’ve been reading a chapter every day. Moomin was first introduced to me several years ago by a friend who lives in Finland. The characters are hard to dislike and the world of Moomin is quite popular in Finland and Sweden.
I’ve enjoyed reading them because they have a strong link to nature. The landscapes are vividly described, whether it’s the garden, a cave or the ocean and beach. The weather also plays an important role in the stories, a giant storm strands them on an island overnight while in another story, they ride around on magic clouds. I particularly like Hemulen, who takes up botany after he’s finished his stamp collection. He declares his idea, “‘Nature Study!’ shouted the Hemulen. ‘I shall botanize…I shall collect the world’s finest herbarium!'”
There’s a theme park in Finland, Moominworld, that I’d love to visit one day. The official Moomin website has a character test, and apparently I’m most like Snufkin. “You don’t care for material possessions – if you find something beautiful, you would rather write a poem about it, than own it. You are truly regarded as a friend by others and they appreciate the wisdom you hold. You may get anxious if your personal space is invaded and you often want a little peace and quiet.”