I want to tell you briefly the meaning, until now, of having been here, in an eco-village amid Finland’s countryside, as a southern European from one of the most overcrowded and polluted regions in Europe, that is Lombardy. From my point of perspective, everything here, even an old barn, is characterized by a relationship with nature: the boundaries that I’m used to seeing since I was born between the natural and human world, here start to fade gradually. I’m not questioning the existence of beautiful wildernesses even in my region, but I’m reflecting on how much unwittingly we, dwellers of big cities, set these boundaries between the city itself, in which reside what we believe our “real” life and all its important connections, and the natural environment, something that usually we experiment in our holidays, just to have a glimpse that exists something different from the city’s bubble, or maybe, with the purpose of recharging your over-exhausted battery to being later productive. This is what the city life asks you; it’s better having no time for personal insights, for being simply sad, or for reflecting too much on your life purposes and values: all factors that stray you from being hyperproductive and, you know, as an average middle-class person, you must consume and constantly surf on the information tide’s waves to be useful for this running hyperactive society. This environment shapes you, sometimes just superficially, sometimes even your dreams, your desires and your values. I don’t know how much I’ve been influenced but, despite this, it’s in this context that having spent months here in KurjenTila has revealed being a spark for crucial and vital insights.

An autumn view of Brescia, in the middle of Lombardy.

In the past months a felt like a child: not only I’ve started for the first time considering the natural environment as something not separated from normal living spaces, but I also strayed from what someone has defined as the “Infosphere”: an intricate web of interconnected information, constantly competing for our attention. This influx of data, while undeniably enriching, has a paradoxical effect: it overwhelms our senses, fragmenting our focus, and often leaving us feeling disoriented. This isn’t inherently connected to a real space because of the virtual nature of the infosphere itself, but fortunately, I mostly relegated this environment to the city, which has become both a breeding ground for personal stress and a theatre of societal expectations.

View from KurjenTila in July at midnight.

Rediscover the beauty of a simpler, slower existence has had two significant, and, in some degree, opposite effects which however have both led to positive changes of perspective: the pain of not having fictitious and fleeting distractions to run away deep and rooted personal problems and the sense of beauty for the simple natural life, human beings included, with its routine deeply connected with the cycles of the ecosystem that surrounds us. The first effect has brought me, taking a cue also from the fascinating resilience of the Finnish, to develop an important sense of acceptance, which give me the stillness and serenity to face down effectively the sorrows and the problems to solve in my life. The second one has led me to appreciate what just a few months ago I didn’t use to even consider, that is the small and sometimes unnoticeable things, from the smell of yellowed pages of an old book to a short stroll at midnight admiring the clouds still visible. Finally, decelerating the pace of my life and the confused stream of thoughts, I found the time for experimenting with all these things and understand how much my past environment held sway over me, preventing me from a real deep personal development, which has nothing in common with the career’s development, the only one taken into consideration in the city life: indeed there it seems that your career defines you far more than your values and what you really are.

In conclusion, in an age of constant connectivity, perhaps the greatest luxury is the ability to disconnect, slow down, retreat into the embrace of nature and face serenely our problems, in this case with the grace and resilience that Finland so beautifully embodies.

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