Initial choreographic seedlings

It is raining very heavily in Varjakka right now. It has been for the past few days. It is giving me a natural break from physical labour. Prior to the rain we had an amazing warm and sunny spell that melted the last bit of snow and uncovered all the existing gardening projects in progress. I get excited about spending time in the garden, so my body is thanking the rain.

I am not a natural gardener but I am eager to learn. One of the biggest things I am already learning is patience. I have two major, long-term projects going on in our yard that provide us brilliant learning processes. The first one is a new lawn. Our yard is around 50 years old with plenty of moss growing. Last Summer we installed a geothermal heating system, which meant that almost all our yard was dug out in order to run underground piping. This Spring I have been shifting 15 tonnes of topsoil, raking, picking stones, raking, picking stones, raking…

The second and even more precious project is about creating a fruit garden in one end of our yard. The climate is not naturally great for growing fruit, but due to climate change it seems to be becoming easier. I have also read and read and read in order to find out the best possible varieties to survive. We started preparing the fruit garden last year, cut some other trees from edge of the land and created eight hotbeds for the trees. I shifted tonnes of topsoil, horse poo and sand to landscape the area again. This year work has continued and we also dug a drainage ditch and planted the first four apple trees. Now, I am getting into more artistic parts of the work and starting to bend the branches of the trees. It is all new to me.

It has been backbreaking physical work for two weeks taking between 20 000 and 30 000 steps daily criss-crossing the yard, pushing the wheelbarrow and bending down to pick rocks or sow seeds. I could feel all of it leaving its marks in my body. So, it felt time to release and see what the body remembers and what the subconscious would bring forward.

As part of my practice I engage in listening to my energy field from time to time and let the body move in the ways it needs to without deciding what to do next. That also helps with releasing unnecessary tensions in the body. I recorded this initial movement improvisation session, watched it once and re-created an eight-minute movement exploration based on what I saw and found interesting. In that way, the improv below is slightly processed, but by no means rehearsed. For me, it was interesting to witness the body go through patterns that were imprinted during the real gardening work – some of which I had already forgotten. In each movement pattern, I could also link a story afterwards and see whereabout in the garden I was doing it.

My plan is to take this material to Warjakka Community Gardens and develop the material further there. The first choreographic seedlings of the Keho on dacha project have been sown.

Warjakka Community Gardens. Photo by John Collingswood.

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