In 1934 fisherman, hunter and farmer Johan August Mattsson built a monument of stone with the inscription ”See God’s Wonderful Nature”. Mattsson lived with his family on a tiny island in the Åland archipelago of Finland. Like earlier generations on the island, the family worked hard to survive. They caught fish, hunted seals and seabirds. They kept cows and sheep. The Mattssons was the only family living on the island.
Today most of us live in cities and catch our fish in a supermarket. It has only been 84 years, but it seems like several hundred.
Despite how tough life on the island must have been Mattsson took time to reflect and express his love for nature. What does our relationship with nature look like now that we don’t live like The Mattssons anymore but still are emotionally attached to nature? How do we approach it? How do we interact?
It’s obvious that there is a longing. We long, we need and sometimes we seem confused. What is it that we long for, why and what can this longing look like?
No one lives on Björkör, Mattsson’s island anymore. It is owned by the Åland Government and has become a recreational spot, a beautiful place in nature to visit when the weather is good.